SC seeks Centre report on NTF recommendation on oxygen

Submit action-taken report on NTF recommendation on allocation of oxygen, SC to Centre

A bench of Justices D Y Chandrachud and M R Shah noted that NTF held numerous meetings and submitted its report to the Centre

Supreme Court. Credit: PTI file photo

The Supreme Court on Monday sought to know from the Centre its preparedness if the country faced a third wave of Covid-19 pandemic.

It asked the Centre to submit within two weeks the action-taken report based on recommendations of court-appointed National Task Force (NTF), on allocation of oxygen to States and Union Territories during the Covid-19 pandemic.

A bench of Justices D Y Chandrachud and M R Shah noted that NTF held numerous meetings and submitted its report to the Centre.

Observing that it has given enough time to the government to implement its orders, the bench said, “Now we want to look towards where we stand should there be a third wave”. 

The top court said the Centre should complete the exercise of preparing the action-taken report and placing it on record within two weeks. 

The issue before the top court arose out of the Centre's plea challenging a contempt notice issued by Delhi High Court over non-supply of 700 MT oxygen to Delhi. 

The bench said it would like to know the steps taken by Centre to ensure that the recommendations were duly observed at the policy level to enhance preparedness and for the foreseeable future. 

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The bench said it would be appropriate if these proceedings were listed together with the matter where it has taken Suo Motu cognisance of the Covid-related issues.

The court also said reports of the NTF and the action taken by the Centre should be made available to all the counsel including the amicus curiae in the matter.

The bench asked senior advocates Jaideep Gupta and Meenakshi Arora, amici curiae in the matter, to prepare a short point-wise submission. 

The top court, on May 5, had stayed the contempt proceedings before the high court. 

The NTF, on June 22, had recommended the country should have strategic reserves of the lifesaving gas for two-three weeks of consumption, similar to the arrangements made for petroleum products.