The Delhi High Court on Tuesday said the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government’s entire system has failed as black marketing of oxygen cylinders and crucial medicines for treating COVID-19 patients is going on. A bench of Justices Vipin Sanghi and Rekha Palli observed it was not the time to become vultures.
“Are you aware of black marketing. Is it a good human gesture?” the bench said to oxygen refillers. The bench further said this is a mess that the state government has been unable to resolve.
“Our confidence in you is shaken. Set your house in order. If you cannot manage, tell us. We will ask the Central government to take over,” the court said.
The court also rapped the Arvind Kejriwal government for issuing impractical orders. “Don’t be unreasonable. You can’t win this war by issuing (such directions) sitting in your office, you are only compounding your problems”. “You’re living in a different world, out of sync on how hospitals are dealing with it. Why do you pass these orders,” the judges court said while clarifying it has not made any request for creating COVID-19 facilities for its judges, staff and their families in a five star hotel.
Taking suo motu cognisance of the news reports which said that 100 rooms of Ashoka Hotel in national capital have been converted into a COVID health facility for judges of Delhi High Court on its request, the bench said, “No communication has been made to anyone in this regard”.
“We have not made any such request for taking over facilities of a five star hotel,” the bench said and directed the Delhi government to “take corrective steps immediately”. “You don’t even have oxygen for people and you’re giving us 100 rooms? Stop passing orders left, right and centre,” it said.
A government order said the facility was being set up on the request of the Delhi High Court. Terming the order as “wrong”, the bench said the image being projected as a result of it was that the Delhi High Court judges have taken it for their benefit or that the Delhi government has done it to appease the court. The court also did not agree with senior advocate Rahul Mehra’s claim that the media played “mischief”, saying “the media is not wrong”. It said that the media only pointed out what was wrong in the order and it was the SDM’s order which was wrong.
It further came down heavily on the city government over oxygen crisis that has engulfed the national capital. “It seems all you’re doing is distribution of lollipops. There is a major problem on your end… This oxygen cylinder business is a complete mess. The Delhi government has to put its house in order. The hospitals are not getting the cylinders. People are having to buy it in the black market. Something needs to be done.”
The Delhi government is supporting black marketing, the court said while pointing out that the supplier to Agrasen Hospital is not listed in the Delhi government order. “Seth (the supplier) appears to be a rather big supplier. He holds 20MT and he is not part of your order. There appears to be something fishy,” the court said.
“You have the power, take action against those engaging in black marketing of oxygen cylinders and medicines,” it said. The hearing is underway.
Soon after, BJP leader Amit Malviya said the court’s statements are like a slap on Kejriwal’s face. “Delhi High Court asks Delhi government to get its house in order failing which they would be compelled to ask the Central government to take over,” Malviya wrote in a tweet.
(With PTI inputs)