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'Beg, borrow, steal, it’s your job to get Oxygen' : Delhi High Court to Centre
'Beg, borrow, steal, it’s your job to get Oxygen' : Delhi High Court to Centre

NEW DELHI, April 22 (INDIAN EXPRESS): Underlining that it is the government’s responsibility to provide oxygen to medical facilities, the Delhi High Court came down strongly on the Centre on Wednesday, saying it seemed that “human lives are not that important.. for the state”.

“Beg, borrow or steal. It is a national emergency,” said the Division Bench of Justices Vipin Sanghi and Rekha Palli.

The court was holding a special hearing after Max Healthcare network sought its urgent intervention, saying that most of its hospitals were working on “dangerously low levels of oxygen supply”.  “Every 10 days, we have doubled the number of (Covid-19) cases and the fact of the matter on the ground is that there is a shortage of oxygen and it is evident to all. It is not that it is artificial or being wrongly projected. It is there. We cannot shut our eyes to it,” said the court.

“As a state, you cannot say that look we can provide this much and no more, so if people die, let them die. That cannot be acceptable and that cannot be an answer of the sovereign state. We will have to enforce the fundamental rights of people and direct beg, borrow and steal and do whatever you have to do but you have to do. We cannot see people dying, because people are dying,” said the court. 

On the Centre’s decision to exempt some industries from the ban on industrial use of oxygen, the Bench said: “You have your own state-run steel plants and petroleum industries. Why can’t you curtail it? Why can’t you stop it? Why can’t you minimise it to whatever is absolutely critical? We can understand that you cannot shut down petroleum production completely in the country because it is a critical thing by itself, but you can reduce it. We are sure that if you were to divert their oxygen for medical use, you would be able to meet the requirement”.



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