Amid rising coronavirus cases, the Madhya Pradesh High Court on Wednesday directed a Mumbai- based firm to continue to supply oxygen to hospitals in the state notwithstanding restrictions imposed by the Maharashtra government.
The state-run Maharaja Yashwantrao Hospital (MYH) here moved the MP High Court after the Maharashtra government issued a notification saying that hospitals in Maharashtra should get priority in supply.
The directive was issued by a division bench of Justices S C Sharma and Shailendra Shukla on Wednesday.
"By way of interim relief...Inox Air Products Pvt Ltd is directed to continue uninterrupted supply of liquid medical oxygen to the State of Madhya Pradesh including the petitioner Hospital without being influenced by the Circular dated 07-09-2020, specially the Condition No. 2 issued by the State of Maharashtra," the judges said.
"Meaning thereby, the supply of liquid medical oxygen to the State of Madhya Pradesh be done by the respondent uninterruptedly, until further orders," the high court said.
The public health department of Maharashtra issued a notification on September 7 directing that oxygen manufacturers should ensure production at maximum capacity.
It also directed that 80 per cent of local production should be reserved for medical use, and supplied to hospitals in Maharashtra.
The MY Hospital, which gets liquid oxygen from the Mumbai-based firm, challenged it, saying it was against the Supreme Court's ruling that medical services are basic rights of citizens.
Madhya Pradesh advocate general Purshendra Kaurav told the court that the hospital had a contract for oxygen supply with the Mumbai firm till May 20, 2021.
But the company has now stopped the supply citing the Maharashtra government's notification.
No state can discriminate in this way when it comes to the supply of life-saving oxygen amid the COVID-19 crisis, he argued.
The high court sought replies from the Maharashtra government and other respondents and adjourned the hearing to October 19.
After the September 7 notification, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan had spoken to his Maharashtra counterpart Uddhav Thackeray over the issue.