The Delhi High Court on Tuesday asked the centre to show cause as to why should contempt charges not be initiated against it for failing to comply with the order on the supply of oxygen to Delhi.
The high court came down heavily on the centre and said, “You can put your head in sand like an ostrich, we will not”.
It rejected the Centre's submission that Delhi was not entitled to 700 MT of medical oxygen in light of existing medical infrastructure.
A bench of Justices Vipin Sanghi and Rekha Palli also rejected the Centre's submission that Delhi was not entitled to 700 metric tonnes of medical oxygen in light of existing medical infrastructure.
"We see grim reality every day of people not able to secure oxygen or ICU beds in hospitals” which have reduced beds due to gas shortage, it said.
The high court directed two senior central government officers to be present before it on Wednesday to respond to the notice.
It said the Supreme Court's April 30 detailed order shows direction to the central government to provide 700 MT of oxygen per day to Delhi, not just 490 MT.
It further said that the Supreme Court has already directed and now the high court is also saying that the Centre will have to supply 700 MT oxygen daily to Delhi right away by whatever means.
After the Delhi High Court’s ultimatum to the Centre on supply of entire allocated oxygen of 490 metric tonnes (MT) to the national capital, the Centre on May 2, had moved the high court seeking a recall of its order.
On May 1, anguished by the deaths of eight COVID-19 patients, including a doctor, at the Batra Hospital here due to a shortage of oxygen, the court had directed the Centre to ensure that the national capital receives its allocated share of 490 MT of the life-saving gas during the day and said "enough is enough", "much water has gone above the head".
The bench had said the Centre has to ensure that Delhi receives its allocated amount of oxygen "by whatever means" and warned that failure to do so could lead to contempt action.