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'Not Proper For Us To Issue Directions For Oxygen Supply When Supreme Court Has Constituted National Task Force': Manipur High Court

Akshita Saxena
12 May 2021 8:18 AM GMT
Not Proper For Us To Issue Directions For Oxygen Supply When Supreme Court Has Constituted National Task Force: Manipur High Court
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The Manipur High Court has refused to issue directions for procurement/ supply of medical Oxygen in the State, saying that it would be inappropriate to issue directions in that regard when the Supreme Court has already taken note of the matter and has constituted a National Task Force to formulate a methodology for scientific allocation of liquid medical oxygen to all the States and...

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The Manipur High Court has refused to issue directions for procurement/ supply of medical Oxygen in the State, saying that it would be inappropriate to issue directions in that regard when the Supreme Court has already taken note of the matter and has constituted a National Task Force to formulate a methodology for scientific allocation of liquid medical oxygen to all the States and Union Territories.

"In the light of the comprehensive mandate visited upon the National Task Force and the committees to be constituted by it, it would be appropriate to await the suggestions and recommendations that emerge from the exercise undertaken by these identified experts and the response of the Supreme Court thereto.

It would therefore not be proper for this Court to issue any directions at this stage as to how the available supplies of oxygen in the State of Manipur should be utilized," a Division Bench of Chief Justice Sanjay Kumar and Justice Kh.Nobin Singh said.

However, the Bench has asked the Centre to indicate to the Court as to what effective measures have been taken and are being taken in terms of the aforestated order of the Supreme Court.

The development comes in a PIL filed by Advocate Naresh Maimom, highlighting issues and difficulties being faced by the people of Manipur due to insufficiency of oxygen supplies and hospital infrastructure.

The Bench was informed that the Regional Institute of Medical Sciences, Imphal, has a far greater requirement of oxygen compared to its present allocation.

Refusing to interfere in the matter, the Bench said,

"We are of the opinion that this is also an issue that would have to be placed before the committee that would be constituted for the State of Manipur by the National Task Force."

The Supreme Court constituted a 12-member National Task Force to formulate a methodology for scientific allocation of liquid medical oxygen to all the States and Union Territories in order to deal with the dearth of oxygen supply amid the second Covid wave.

This Task Force will inter alia, make recommendations for augmenting available supplies of oxygen, based on present and projected demands likely during the pandemic.

For this purpose, it shall constitute sub-groups/committees for each State/ Union Territory for the purpose of conducting audits to ensure accountability for proper distribution of oxygen supplies made available to them.

Allow movement of Patients' Caretakers during Curfew

The High Court has ordered the local authorities to ensure that families/ care takers of Covid-patients are allowed to move freely during the curfew hours, for arranging essential resources like medicines, food, etc.

A curfew has been imposed in various parts of the State of Manipur, including Imphal city, and citizens attending to their near and dear ones, admitted in hospitals due to the pandemic or other medical conditions, are being put to great inconvenience in providing them necessary aid and succour.

On noting that their movement is necessary as otherwise no facilities are available in some major hospitals for catering to the nutritional needs of patients, the Bench ordered:

"The patients' families must necessarily attend to these needs. The State Government shall therefore ensure that appropriate measures are taken to facilitate movement of the attendants of patients for supply of essentials, including food, to them."

The matter is now fixed for hearing on May 18.

Case Title: Naresh Maimom v. Union of India & Ors.

Click Here To Download Order

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