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Gorakhpur oxygen deaths 2017: Supreme Court directs Centre to frame guidelines regarding optimal use of medical equipment, devices

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The Supreme Court on Thursday directed the Union government to file a counter within eight weeks regarding guidelines and standard operating procedure (SOPs) for optimal use of National Medical Oxygen, medical equipment and devices.

The Bench headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) D.Y. Chandrachud gave the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MHFW) eight weeks sought to frame the guidelines.

The Apex Court passed the order on a petition seeking judicial probe into the death of 63 children, which took place at Baba Raghav Das Medical College in Gorakhpur in 2017, allegedly due to lack of oxygen cylinders.

The top court of the country agreed to hear the plea in January third week, which further sought constitution of a separate system or mechanism for supply of oxygen cylinders.

The Bench observed that these were all policy issues and the petitioner should approach the Allahabad High Court for relief. 

The Apex Court said that it cannot direct the Parliament to frame a law. Health was a state subject and not a Central subject, it added.

The Counsel for the petitioner then contended that health was in concurrent list, mentioning that everyone saw what happened during the Covid-19 pandemic. 

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