The Karnataka High Court has suggested that a judicial probe be conducted by a retired high court judge into the incident of May 4, where 24 people died at a Covid-19 treatment facility at Chamarajanagar allegedly due to oxygen shortage.
A division bench of Chief Justice Abhay Oka and Justice Aravind Kumar said "The incident that happened at Chamarajanagar is very serious. Around 24 people died. Advocate General, we suggest that there should be a judicial inquiry into the incident by a Retd Judge of the HC."
Advocate General Prabhuling K Navadgi informed the court that the State government has appointed a senior IAS officer to hold a fact finding inquiry and give a report and it will be received by tomorrow evening. That we will place it on the record. Ultimately truth has to come out and the state will not hesitate in taking action against anyone."
Navadgi also informed the court as per a report of the Deputy Commissioner the hospital had made a requisition for 300 cylinders of Oxygen. To which the court said "Is it not a fact that requisition was made for 300 cylinders and it was not supplied? It added "We are putting you (State) to notice that a Retd Judicial officer has to be appointed for conducting an inquiry in the incident."
The court also pulled up the Central government for not increasing the cap on supply of Oxygen to the state government. Advocate General Navadgi informed the court that as per the state government estimated the requirement of oxygen is around 1700 MT.
Following which the bench said "Mr M N Kumar (appearing for the central government) we are putting you to notice. We want an answer from you in Yes or NO, whether you will increase the cap on supply of Oxygen to 1700 MT. Let your officers know that there is an incident of people dying due to lack of oxygen. State of Karnataka is recording the highest number of cases everyday."
It added "Supply of Oxygen has to be increased, as of today there is a shortfall of 900 MT per day of Oxygen."
The court has directed the Central Government to respond on the issue at 2.30 pm.