order dated April 30 directing it to ensure 700MT oxygen to Delhi daily.HE Supreme Court Friday reiterated that the Central Government will have to strictly adhere to the court’s
A bench of Justices DY Chandrachud and MR Shah said that the order on April 30 was passed on the assurance of the Central Government. However, it had not been complied with, which had led the Delhi High Court to issue a contempt notice to the Centre.
“The directions contained in the order of this court dated 30 April 2021 leaves no manner of doubt that the Union Government is under an obligation to ensure a daily supply of 700 MT to meet the existing requirements of the NCTD. This direction has been based on the assurance of the Union Government to the court,” it said.
On May 5, while staying the contempt notice, the top court asked the Centre to place on the record a plan to ensure 700MT oxygen to Delhi, which, when it did, was rejected by the court because of the caveats and conditions it contained.
“What is sought to be assured in the first part of the plan is diluted with the next segment. 700 MT was not intended to be a requirement to be fulfilled for one day or sporadically, but on a daily basis. Daily basis means for every day”, the bench clarified.
The court also observed that except for a bare assertion that an increase of 210 MT to Delhi would result in a corresponding reduction to other states, no material had been produced on record by the Centre.
The court also pointed out that on April 30, the Centre had said there was “no dearth of oxygen”, but that its shortage in the states and union territories was on account of deficiencies in distribution and the inability to lift the entire quantity of oxygen supplied.
The Delhi government submitted had before the apex court that it had computed the requirement of oxygen based on the formula which had been adopted by the Union Government which was not disputed by the Centre. The court noted that its attention had not been drawn to any error in the methodology of computation that has been adopted by GNCTD.
“GNCTD has drawn the attention of the court to the serious deficiency in the availability of oxygen. This indicates that on 6 May 2021, the total quantity of oxygen delivered to NCTD was 577 MT, resulting in a shortfall of 123 MT. As of 9 16 am on 7 May 2021, the total quantity which has been received at NCTD border is 87.97 MT, while 9.64 MT is under transit”, the court said.
Solicitor general Tushar Mehta and senior advocate Rahul Mehra appeared for the Centre and Delhi government respectively.