Centre moves SC challenging Karnataka HC order asking to increase daily oxygen quota for state

The Centre Thursday moved the Supreme Court against the Karnataka High Court order asking it to increase the daily liquid medical oxygen (LMO) allocation for the state to 1,200 MT from the present 965 MT. The Centre has also sought a stay on the high court order.

A bench headed by Justice DY Chandrachud was told by Solicitor General Tushar Mehta that the state is being supplied 965 MT LMO presently and the order needed to be stayed urgently.

The bench also comprising Justice MR Shah, in its hearing, said it will have to look at the paper book before issuing any order regarding the issue.

The High Court passed the order yesterday after taking note of the incidents of COVID patients dying due to shortage of oxygen.

A division bench comprising Chief Justice AS Oka and Justice Arvind Kumar of the High Court ordered: “In the circumstance we have no option but to issue a mandatory direction to the Government of India to again consider representation made by the state government, on April 30. We direct the state government to immediately submit a representation to the government of India, with a projected estimate of oxygen for next one week. Representation shall be considered by the Government of India, within four days. Till representation is considered by the Government of India, within four days. Till representation is considered, we direct the government of India to increase the cap on supply of Oxygen to the state to upto 1200 MT per day, with immediate effect.”

The High Court had earlier noted that though the State Government had made a demand for 1700 MT oxygen per day, the Centre had only increased it to 862 MT.

JD(S) leader HD Kumaraswamy on Tuesday had written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressing concern about a “deepening crisis in Karnataka” with regard to shortage of oxygen. He also sought the immediate intervention of the Centre to prevent a tragedy that is likely to unfold.