Centre Loses Supreme Court Case Over Supplying More Oxygen To Karnataka

Centre Loses Supreme Court Case Over Supplying More Oxygen To Karnataka

The High Court order asked Centre to increase daily liquid medical oxygen allocation for Karnataka.

New Delhi:

The Supreme Court today rejected the Centre's petition against a High Court order asking it to send 1,200 MT of oxygen to Karnataka.

"The Karnataka High Court order is a careful, calibrated exercise and we see no reason to entertain the Centre's appeal," the Supreme Court said.

The Centre had yesterday approached the Supreme Court against the High Court order asking it to increase daily liquid medical oxygen allocation for Karnataka from 965 MT to 1200 MT for treating COVID-19 patients.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the Centre, said Karnataka was being supplied 965 MT oxygen and the order to increase it had to be put on hold urgently.

"The Centre cannot be averse to reasonable demands of states. We are concerned with the High Court order and if every High Court directs then it will be unworkable," the Centre argued.

"We have a limited quantity and we can sit together," it said.

Justice DY Chandrachud said "even with 3.95 lakh cases", Karnataka had requested 1,700 tonnes of oxygen and 1,100 MT was the minimum requirement.

"It is an extraordinary well-calibrated exercise by the High Court. It is a calibrated and well-considered exercise of power by the High Court," said Justice Chandrachud.

The Centre remarked, "Let all High Courts distribute the oxygen to states".

The Supreme Court said it would "interfere" at an appropriate stage.

"We will not keep citizens of Karnataka in the lurch," said the judges.

The Supreme Court has for several days been hearing disputes between the centre and various states over the supply of oxygen and other essential resources in the Covid spiral.

Before taking up the Karnataka case, the Supreme Court ordered the Centre to supply 700 metric tonnes of oxygen to Delhi everyday "till further orders".

"When we say 700 metric tonnes, it means (the amount of medical oxygen to be supplied) everyday to Delhi. Please do not drive us to a situation to take coercive steps... We are clarifying that it will be 700 MT everyday," the top court said sternly, a day after prolonged arguments in court.