On May 10 2021, The Manipur High Court stated that it would be inappropriate to issue any direction regarding the procurement of oxygen supply in the state when the Supreme Court on May 6, in the case of Union of India vs. Rakesh Malhotra & another has already constituted a National Task Force, which constitutes of twelve members for scientific allotment of liquid medical oxygen to the States and UTs as per the need and availability. The Task Force is supposed to constitute a committee in each state to ensure accountability for the oxygen supplies distribution in the State.
The writ petition was placed before a Division Bench of Chief Justice Sanjay Kumar and Justice Kh. Nobin. This petition raised various issues in the public interest and highlighted the difficulties facing by the citizens due to lack of oxygen supplies and medical infrastructure. The present condition of the Regional Institute of Medical Sciences, Imphal was brought before the court, it was stated that there is a huge gap between the oxygen supplies need and the oxygen supplies allotted.
The court refused to intervene in this matter stating that it would not be appropriate for the bench to issue directions. It further opined that the matter of insufficient oxygen supplies and hospital infrastructure in the State would be addressed by the committee formed by the National Task Force. The National Task Force based on the report of the committee will act accordingly and provides recommendations in relation to oxygen supplies as per its present and predicted demand.
The High Court also stated that local authorities should ensure that the family members of the COVID patients can freely move despite the curfew imposed. The court observed that the liberty on the movement in the curfew facilitates the caretaker to gather essentials such as medicine and food for the patient. The court found this necessary because no catering services are operational in the hospital and only the free movement of the caretakers or family members ensure the fulfilment of the nutritional needs of patients.
The Court listed this matter on May 18 2021, for further hearing.