Supreme Court upholds HC order to Centre to supply more oxygen to Karnataka

Supreme Court upholds HC order to Centre to supply more oxygen to Karnataka
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Supreme Court upholds HC order to Centre to supply more oxygen to Karnataka

Highlights

In a relief to the State, the Supreme Court on Friday upheld the Karnataka High Court order directing the Union government to supply 1,200 MT of medical grade oxygen.

Bengaluru: In a relief to the State, the Supreme Court on Friday upheld the Karnataka High Court order directing the Union government to supply 1,200 MT of medical grade oxygen.

It may be recalled that the Centre on Thursday moved the apex court against the Karnataka HC order asking it to increase the daily liquid medical oxygen (LMO) allocation for the State to 1,200 MT from 965 MT.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the Centre, said Karnataka was being supplied 965 MT oxygen. "There is "no rationale" in the HC order, and it would lead to chaos in the management and distribution of oxygen across the country. If every High Court starts passing similar orders then it would be unworkable. Madras, Telangana and other High Courts are also examining this issue. Let High Courts distribute oxygen to States. We have a limited quantity and we can sit together," the Centre argued.

Mr Mehta said the Centre was ready to sit with Karnataka and resolve it. But a bench led by Justice DY Chandrachud said, "We will not interfere with this. Had we felt that they had stretched their powers, we would have interfered. But, this is well considered and well calibrated order."

Justice Chandrachud also mentioned that the order by the Karnataka HC was not arbitrary and was based on the State's projection of 3.9 lakh cases and the minimum requirement of 1,700 MT. "It (HC order) wasn't arbitrary. Had it been that way, we would have addressed it," he told the SG. The hearing came as the Union government on Thursday had filed a special leave petition praying the apex court to set aside the HC order passed on May 5.

The Karnataka High Court direction on May 5 came following the Chamarajanagar tragedy on May 3 when 24 COVID-19 patients, who were on ventilators, died due to inadequate supply of oxygen at the government medical college hospital. Cumulatively so far 38 patients have died in the State due to lack of oxygen.

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