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Delhi HC Decries Centre’s Delays in Taking Crucial Decisions

Slamming the Centre over the Covid-19 crisis, the Delhi High Court yesterday said if medicines and resources are diverted without application of mind, then “people will have blood on their hands”.

Several critical remarks were made by a division bench of the High Court comprising Justices Vipin Sanghi and Rekha Palli while hearing a PIL in connection with the Covid-19 situation in Delhi. “We will be doomed,” said the bench if medicines and resources are diverted without application of mind.

The court also questioned the Centre’s decision to ban the use of oxygen for industrial purposes with effect from April 22. The bench said the need for oxygen is now and any delay will lead to the loss of precious lives. “Why wait till April 22 to ban, why not immediately? People need oxygen now.”

The High Court noted that if steps are not taken to augment the oxygen supply, then the country may see a bigger disaster. “First priority has to be to save lives”, said the bench.

The court asked the Centre to vaccinate whomsoever it can and ensure there is no wastage of vaccines while expressing its dissatisfaction over the “huge wastage” of vaccines. The court emphasized that the pandemic does not discriminate. “Give it to those who want it. Whomsoever you can vaccinate, please vaccinate. Whether 16-year-old or 60-year-old, all need vaccination”, added the court.

On the hoarding of vaccines, the court asked the Centre to take action against those people who are involved in such practices and also come out with some norms to counter these practices. The bench said: “We hope Centre is applying its mind based on the need of each state when deciding where to send medicines and resources”.

The bench remarked that if people are dying the way they are dying now, what is the point of producing more for the economy and suggested cutting down the production of iron, steel and other industries for 2-3 weeks to divert oxygen supplies for medical use. “Ultimately, economic interests cannot override human life”, said the court.

The Centre informed the court that for continuous supply of oxygen for medical purposes, the use of oxygen for industrial purposes has been banned except for certain critical industries from April 22.

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