You Can Bury Your Head In Sand Like Ostrich, But...: Court Raps Centre

By SM .04 May, 2021




NEW DELHI: The Central government"s failure to implement the Delhi High Court"s order on immediate supply of full quota of oxygen to Delhi evoked the judges" wrath today. The court -- which had ordered that Delhi must be given its full quota of oxygen "by whatever means" -- asked the government to explain why a contempt case should not be initiated against it.


"Enough is enough. We will not take a "no" regarding oxygen supply. There is no way that you will not supply 700 metric tonnes of oxygen immediately. We will not hear anything except compliance," the judges said.


"Contempt proceedings can be the last thing," added the judges, who have been hearing a bunch of petitions on the oxygen shortage for more than two weeks.


Over this period, despite the court"s repeated urging, the Centre has remained firm on its stance that Delhi has been allocated oxygen according to a calculation that applies to all states and it is the Delhi government"s mismanagement that has led to the crisis.


Around 40 people have died in the national capital meanwhile as their hospitals ran out of oxygen. Most hospitals have been flagging shortages every few hours. Even today two hospitals -- one catering only to children -- have flagged shortage since morning.


"You can bury your head in sand like an ostrich, we won"t... Are you living in an ivory tower?" the judges said, pointing out that the Supreme Court had also ordered the Centre to provide 700 metric tonnes of oxygen to Delhi and not just 490 metric tonnes.


When the Center said it would file a compliance affidavit before the Supreme Court tomorrow, the judges said, "We fail to understand what the affidavit will achieve when the necessary oxygen is not being brought to Delhi. Not even a day"s allocated oxygen (to Delhi) has been distributed".


On April 30, the Supreme Court had ordered that the deficit in the oxygen supply to Delhi must be rectified on or before midnight of May 3.


During a rare hearing on Saturday, the High court had impressed upon the Centre the urgency of immediate action in view of the mounting number of deaths in the national capital due to oxygen shortage.


"The water has gone above the head. You have to arrange everything now. You have made the allocations. You have to fulfill it. Eight lives have been lost. We can"t shut our eyes to it," the bench of Justices Vipin Sanghi and Rekha Palli had said.