Supreme Court rejects Centre's plea over oxygen supply to Karnataka
The Supreme Court of India today rejected the central government's petition challenging a Karnataka High Court order over oxygen supply to the southern state. The Karnataka High Court had recently directed the Centre to send 1,200 metric tonnes (MT) of medical oxygen to the state, after which the Centre moved the top court. Here are more details on this.
SC termed Karnataka order 'well-calibrated and thought-out'
Justices DY Chandrachud and MR Shah passed the order today. "We have read the order and we know the sequence of events. We will say it is a well-calibrated and thought out order (sic)," the judges noted, according to Bar & Bench.
Increase supply from 965 MT to 1,200 MT: Karnataka HC
On May 5, the Karnataka High Court had noted that the required quantity of oxygen had not been allotted by the Centre to the state. It then directed the Centre to increase the allocation from 965 MT to 1,200 MT for the treatment of COVID-19 patients. The decision came soon after at least 24 died in Chamarajanagar due to the shortage of medical oxygen.
It will become 'unworkable,' said SG Mehta
Solicitor General of India Tushar Mehta, representing the Centre, told the SC bench that if High Courts continue to pass such orders, the situation will become "unworkable." "This leaves room for every High Court to start examining and allocating oxygen...Please order that this be not treated as a precedent," SG Mehta told the top court during the hearing.
'We will not keep citizens of Karnataka in the lurch'
The bench responded, "We will not interfere with this today. It is a well-considered exercise of power by the High Court. If it was a breach of executive power etc., then we would have considered." "We are looking at a wider issue. We will not keep the citizens of Karnataka in the lurch in the meanwhile," Justice Chandrachud reportedly said.
Earlier, SC ordered Centre to supply 700MT oxygen to Delhi
Earlier in the day, the Supreme Court ordered the Centre to supply 700 MT of oxygen to Delhi everyday until further orders. "Please do not drive us to a situation to take coercive steps...We are clarifying that it will be 700 MT everyday," it said.
The COVID-19 situation in India
India has been gripped by a dreadful second wave of the coronavirus pandemic amid an overburdened healthcare infrastructure. In the past 24 hours, the country logged 4.14 lakh new COVID-19 cases - the highest-ever one-day surge for any country in the outbreak. It also recorded more than 3,900 more deaths. India's COVID-19 peak is expected in a few days, according to experts.