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Before further orders, the Centre must supply 700 MT of oxygen to Delhi on a regular basis: Supreme Court

The Supreme Court on Friday ordered the Centre to continue supplying 700 MT of liquid medical oxygen (LMO) to Delhi on a regular basis before further orders are given.

The Supreme Court on Friday (May 7) ordered the Centre to continue supplying 700 MT of liquid medical oxygen (LMO) to Delhi on a regular basis until further orders are given. An apex court bench led by Justice D Y Chandrachud took note of the Delhi government’s submission about a lack of LMO supply in the national capital and cautioned that if 700 MT of LMO is not delivered daily, it would issue orders against the officials involved.

Senior advocate Rahul Mehra, who was representing the Delhi government before the Supreme Court, cited the oxygen supply obtained by the city. He also informed the court that the Delhi government received 86 MT of oxygen on Friday until 9 a.m. and that 16 MT of oxygen is in transit.

According to Justice Chandrachud, “We need 700 MT delivered to Delhi, and we’re serious about it. We don’t want to be manipulative, but it has to be supplied.”

The bench also stated that its order about the oxygen supply to Delhi would be uploaded later in the afternoon, but instructed the Centre to go ahead and plan for the national capital’s oxygen supply. Justice Shah went on to say that before further orders, the Centre would supply 700 MT of oxygen every day.

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The Centre told the Supreme Court on Thursday that as a constitutionally elected government, it is doing everything possible to relieve the misery of people affected by COVID-19 by increasing the supply of oxygen.

It refuted the Delhi government’s claim that oxygen allocation is done haphazardly and advocated for the development of an efficient system to deal with oxygen allocation and distribution to states. The Delhi government has made it a “Centre versus Delhi battle,” according to the apex court.

The top court had previously stayed the Delhi High Court’s contempt proceedings against central government officials over the issue on May 5.

In another case, when the Karnataka High Court directed the Centre to supply 1200 MT of oxygen to the state, the Supreme Court refused to intervene, instead requesting that the Centre raise the state’s daily liquid medical oxygen (LMO) allocation from 965 MT to 1200 MT for treating COVID-19 patients.

The high court order of May 5 is a well-calibrated, deliberate, and judicious exercise of authority, according to the bench of justices DY Chandrachud and M R Shah.

It declined to consider the Centre’s argument that if every high court issued orders allocating oxygen, the country’s supply network would be thrown into chaos.

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