“We don’t care, beg, borrow, steal, requisition new plants if you want”: Delhi High Court pulls up Modi government for oxygen shortages in Delhi amidst deadly COVID-19 pandemic


The Delhi High Court on Wednesday told the government to make arrangements for oxygen at war footing even if it meant setting up new plants. The high court Bench comprising Justices Vipin Sanghi and Rekha Palli pulled up the Centre’s Narendra Modi government for failing in catering to the need of supplying enough oxygen. The court made the scathing observation while hearing an urgent plea regarding the urgent need for oxygen at Max Hospitals in Shalimar Bagh and Patparganj in New Delhi. This was after the hospitals said that they only had oxygen left to deal with the Covid-19 situation. Justice Sanghi said, “If Tata’s can divert their oxygen, why can’t others do it? Is there no send of humanity left?”

The bench, according to Livelaw, said, “We don’t care, beg, borrow, steal, requisition new plants if you want.” Justice Sanghi continued, “We don’t care, beg, borrow, steal, requisition new plants if you want.”

Justice Palli, for her part, said, “Stop all industries if you have to.”

The Bench, according to the Bar and Bench website, said, “We direct Central government to protect right to life of citizens who are seriously ill and require medical oxygen and to supply the same by whatever means it is required. The responsibility falls on the central government to ensure supply. If necessary, the Centre should divert entire supply from industries particularly steel and petroleum.”

Justice Sanghi said, “This Is ridiculous. It means human lives are not important for the State.” The court didn’t stop here as it observed, “We are shocked and dismayed that government doesn’t seem to be mindful to the extremely urgent need of medical oxygen.”

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said, ” If it can wait till tomorrow, I can take proper instructions and assist the court.” The court said, “The point is the citizen can only fall back on the stage, so beg, borrow, steal, import – but it is their fundamental right, and it is our bounden duty to help them. You approach any industry, they will not say no, on humanitarian issues.”

The court, in its order, said, “Yesterday, we had passed a detailed order, including on the aspect of shortage of oxygen. We were informed that all industrial oxygen is being diverted for medical use except certain critical industries, inter alia, steel and petroleum.”