Order of the High Court of Delhi regarding steps taken to tackle COVID-19 in Delhi, 20/04/2021

  • 20/04/2021

Order of the High Court of Delhi in the matter of Rakesh Malhotra Vs Government of National Capital Territory of India & Others dated 20/04/2021.

The matter relates to steps take to tackle COVID-19 in Delhi. The Central government in its affidavit informed the HC that it had asked all the states and union territories to provide their requirements for ventilators - so as to consider the supply of ventilators as per the availability at the earliest. It is further stated that that as per the demand of the GNCTD, 763 ventilators have been supplied by the Government of India. In addition to that, Safdarjung Hospital has been provided with 105 ventilators, Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital with 5 ventilators, LHMC with 5 ventilators, Ayush Hospital with 2 ventilators, ESIC Hospital with 10 ventilators and the DRDO facility has been provided with 500 ventilators.

Dr. Nipun Vinayak, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has informed the court that the Department for Promotion of Industries and Internal Trade (DPIIT) is looking into the aspect of diversion of oxygen from industrial use for medical use in view of the urgent need of oxygen.

The High Court of Delhi, April 20, 2021 asked the Central Government to seriously consider issuing appropriate orders in respect of the steel and petro-chemical industries, so that a balance could be maintained between the needs of the people at large – who are suffering from COVID and are serious, and the needs of the industries. The Central Government must hold a meeting with all stakeholders including from the steel and petro-chemical industries, so that sufficient portion of the oxygen produced by these industries could be diverted for medical needs for the period required to tide over the prevailing medical emergency.

The HC also took note of the fact that the Central Government had sanctioned funds in December, 2020 to set up Pressure Swing Adsorption (PSA) plants for production of oxygen throughout the country. For the NCT of Delhi, eight such plants were sanctioned and only one has become operational till date, and two of the hospitals, namely, Satyawadi Raja Harish Chandra Hospital and Vardhaman Mahavir Medical College and Safdarjung Hospital have not yet provided the site clearance where the PSA plant could be installed. The HC directed the Central Government to review the allocation of oxygen on a dynamic basis - on a day to day basis, so that its utilization is achieved in the most efficient manner.

The use of oxygen by the state of Kerala was most efficient, Nipun Vinayak, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare informed the Delhi HC and it should be followed by all.