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Create oxygen buffer stocks within 4 days, SC tells Centre

Stock photo: Supreme Court of India

New Delhi, May 3 (MNN) The Supreme Court has directed the Indian government for the creation of buffer stocks of medical oxygen within four days to ensure uninterrupted supply.

The apex court also ordered the Indian government to come up with a national policy on admissions to hospitals within two weeks, which ought to be followed by all states across the country.

The government was directed to collaborate with various states to set up a buffer stock for use in emergency situations and decentralise them so as to ensure immediately availability, should there by any disruption in normal supply.

The replenishment of emergency stocks will be monitored on a real-time basis through a virtual control room in active consultation with each state/UT, the court said on Sunday.

A bench comprising Justices DY Chandrachud, L Nageswara Rao and Ravindra Bhat had taken up a suo motu case to examine supply of essential medicines and vaccines amid the second wave of coronavirus. The order was reserved on April 30.

The apex court made it clear that no patient should be denied admission in hospitals or essential medicines even if they don’t have residential or identity proofs.

The court warned of coercive action in case of clampdown on social media posts or harassment to persons who sought help on such platforms and directed the Centre and states to notify their respective Chief Secretaries/DGPs.

The Registrar (Judicial) would convey the orders to all District Magistrates as well.

The Supreme Court pointed out that the government needs to examine its extraordinary powers to fix prices of drugs etc amid the pandemic.

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