The Delhi High court has come down heavily on the Aam Aadmi Party-led government on Tuesday (April 17) for not taking strict action against erring oxygen dealers in the capital and ordered them to take over an oxygen refilling plant, even as they issued contempt notices to five oxygen refillers.
Rapping the government for allowing the system to collapse, and not being able to tackle the huge surge in cases, the court told them to set their house in order. “Enough is enough,” observed the court, adding that to tell them if they were unable to manage, they would ask the Centre to send its officers. “We will ask them to take over,” the court told the Delhi government, reported Hindustan Times.
Further, the court said that strict measures should have been taken by the government to ensure medical oxygen did not cost several thousand or lakhs of rupees because of black marketing or hoarding. “Your system has failed,” the court said, adding that they were out of touch with reality.
Oxygen continues to be sold in the black market and large-scale hoarding of medicines and oxygen was going on. The court criticised the Delhi government for not taking action against erring cylinder dealers, black-marketers and hoarders. Moreover, the Delhi government had failed to issue proper instructions to oxygen refillers, who did not appear in court for the proceedings.
The court said that they would take action against the refillers and issue a contempt notice against them because they were not present despite being called by the court. Stating that this cylinder business is a “mess”, they directed the government to look into it and put their house in order. “If they are belligerent, then they will see our belligerence. Keep them in custody if they are playing with people’s life like this,” said the court, quoted media reports.
The court also directed the Delhi government to post their officers in these oxygen refilling plants and take them over and run it themselves. The court pointed out that the government had “all the power in law” to take them in custody.
These observations were made by a bench of justices Vipin Sanghi and Rekha Palli while hearing a plea made by hospitals regarding the shortage of oxygen and drugs like Remdesivir. In the midst of the proceedings, Venkateshwara Hospital and Maharaja Agrasen Hospital said that their oxygen reserves were running out and that their patients were in danger. Delhi hospitals are scrambling for oxygen cylinders and have moved the High Court on this issue.