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Covid-19 | Hospital moves Supreme Court against oxygen supplier

Claims anti-social, inhuman elements are creating artificial shortage to enrich themselves

A Mumbai hospital treating COVID-19 patients has moved the Supreme Court accusing a local supplier of denying it oxygen supply since April 12 and forcing it to shift its patients to other hospitals.

Crystal Hospital Ltd, renamed NIHS Re-Life Hospital Ltd, said many hospitals were suffering from similar “artificial shortage” in oxygen supply.

“The problem faced by the petitioner’s hospital is not one peculiar to them, but faced by many designated hospitals like the petitioner, and the artificial shortage has been created by anti-social and inhuman elements, with the sole purpose of unduly enriching at the cost of the lives of fellow human beings,” the petitioner, represented by advocate Manju Jetley Sharma, said.

It asked the court to issue a mandamus to the State of Maharashtra, Union of India and other instrumentalities of the State, and in particular, the Municipal Corporation of Bombay, the District Magistrate, Bombay Suburban District, the police authorities “to take appropriate measures on a war-footing to ensure that sufficient quantity of oxygen is made available to the petitioner hospital as soon as is humanly possible, so that the precious lives of the COVID patients can be saved”.

The petition has also sought criminal proceedings to be instituted against oxygen suppliers for violation of the Essential Commodities Act of 1955 and for black marketeering.

The petitioner hospital said it had 90 beds, of which 13 had hi-tech ICU facilities. It said it wanted to make its entire facility available for COVID treatment.

“At a time when there is great shortage of beds and ICU facilities for the treatment of COVID patients, the petitioner hospital, one well equipped with all modern, hybrid facilities for covid treatment, is forced to remain handicapped, practically closed,” the petition said. Pleas to the authorities for help had yielded no results, it said.

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