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SC rejects Centre’s plea against K’taka HC order to increase Oxygen quota

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday turned down the Centre’s plea challenging the Karnataka High Court order asking it to increase the liquid medical oxygen allocation for the state to 1,200 MT per day from the present 965 MT amid the second wave of Covid-19.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, on behalf of the Centre, told the bench of Justices DY Chandrachud and MR Shah that if High Courts pass such orders, it will be “unworkable”.

“We will not interfere with this. Had we felt that they had stretched their powers, we would have interfered. But, this is well considered and well-calibrated order,” the top court observed.

The bench further said, “We can’t keep people of Karnataka in the lurch.”

On May 4, the Karnataka HC bench headed by Chief Justice AS Oka had questioned the Centre’s reluctance to increase the allocation for the state amid the tragic incident that happened at Chamarajnagar, in which 24 people died at a COVID hospital on Sunday due to lack of oxygen supply.

Notably, the liquid oxygen allocation is controlled by the Central Government and the state cannot exceed the cap even if the oxygen is produced within the state.

Capital city Bengaluru is having two-thirds of Karnataka’s cases and facing an acute crunch.

Late last month, Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa had requested the Centre to provide 1,500 metric tonnes of oxygen daily to the state amid a surge in Covid cases.

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