The order said the Centre had suggested that “in order to ensure that the allocation and distribution of oxygen takes place on a rational and equitable basis, it is necessary to constitute a National Task Force of experts which would determine the method of allocation and distribution of oxygen across states/UTs”.
The Supreme Court has put in place a 12-member National Task Force (NTF), including top experts and doctors from across the country, “to facilitate a public health response to the pandemic based on scientific and specialised domain knowledge”.
The Task Force would also undertake an oxygen audit for “formulating a methodology for the scientific allocation of oxygen to states and UTs (Union Territories)”. The Union Cabinet Secretary or a nominee of the official will serve as Convenor of the NTF.
“It is necessary that an effective and transparent mechanism is set up within the Union government for the purpose of allocating medical oxygen to all states and UTs for being used during the Covid-19 pandemic. The Union Government has agreed to set up a National Task Force to streamline the process,” a Bench of Justices D Y Chandrachud and M R Shah said in its May 6 order.
The ex-officio members named to the NTF by it include Bhabatosh Biswas, former Vice-Chancellor, West Bengal University of Health Sciences, Kolkata; Dr Devender Singh Rana, Chairperson, Board of Management, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, Delhi; Devi Prasad Shetty, Chairperson and Executive Director, Narayana Healthcare, Bengaluru; Gagandeep Kang, Professor, Christian Medical College (CMC), Vellore, Tamil Nadu; J V Peter, Director, CMC; Naresh Trehan, Chairperson and Managing Director, Medanta Hospital and Heart Institute, Gurugram, Rahul Pandit, Director, Critical Care Medicine and ICU, Fortis Hospital, Mulund and Kalyan (Maharashtra); Saumitra Rawat, Chairman & Head, Department of Surgical Gastroenterology and Liver Transplant, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital; Shiv Kumar Sarin, Senior Professor and Head of Department of Hepatology, and Director, Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences (ILBS), Delhi; Zarir F Udwadia, Consultant Chest Physician, Hinduja Hospital, Breach Candy Hospital and Parsee General Hospital, Mumbai; and the Secretary, Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.