The Manipur High Court while taking note of the adverse situation asked the Centre to divert its attention to provide financial assistance to the State of Manipur. In view of the absence of any machinery to monitor the treatment of patients, Chief Justice Sanjay Kumar and Justice KH. Nobin Singh directed the State Government to take necessary measures in relation to the said issue.
Arguments made by the State-
The State of Manipur represented by the Advocate General, contended that as per the direction of the Supreme Court to establish a committee through the National task Force has not been clearly formulated as of now. The State is not leaving any stone unturned to do what it can for dealing with the shortage of oxygen supplies, given the increase in the number of cases of Covid-19.
A 12-member National Task Force has been established by the Supreme court for devising a method to allocate liquid medical oxygen to all the Sates and the Union Territories in view of the dire need of oxygen. The Task Force has to make recommendations with regard to the availability of oxygen and its future demand. It shall constitute sub- groups/committees for ensuring proper distribution of the oxygen supplies.
Observations made by the Court-
The Court acknowledged the measures taken by the State, particularly the team that will be constituted for dealing with the demand of oxygen and making it available as soon as possible. It also stated that the steps that are being taking shall be reported in the newspapers for the purpose of accountability and transparency. Through this the public will be well informed about the initiatives that are being taken for dealing with COVID-19.
Furthermore, the Court while noting that State Oxygen Management Team will determine the supplies of oxygen noted that,
”It would be for each hospital concerned, including the Regional Institute of Medical Sciences, Imphal, to place its current demand before the said team, basing on the number of patients admitted in that hospital who need oxygen. The Team shall thereupon allocate the oxygen available to all the hospitals equitably.”
Lastly, the Court asked the the Centre to examine the various issues raised by the respondents in relation to the financial assistance, that is a matter of concern given the present circumstances that are being created by the second wave of the pandemic.
The matter will be heard on the next date i.e. May 27,2020