The Delhi High Court on Thursday directed the police not to seize anti-viral drug remdesivir and oxygen cylinders from individuals who have got it for medical use amid the coronavirus crisis, Live Law reported.

A bench of Justices Vipin Sanghi and Rekha Palli asked the police to release the drug and oxygen cylinders as soon as it is seized from hoarders and black marketeers. “Whenever any seizure is made, the IOs [investigating officers] should immediately inform the DCP [deputy commissioner of police],” the court said. “These articles must also be kept in refrigerated environment so they don’t lose their efficacy.”

The court said this will ensure that the medicine can be administered to coronavirus patients. “The DCP in coordination with the Delhi government can ensure distribution as per need,” it added.

The judges also asked the investigating officers to ascertain if the seized medicines were genuine, according to PTI.

HC questions Delhi oxygen allocation

During Thursday’s hearing, the judges also asked the Centre as to why Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra were given more oxygen than they asked for even as Delhi’s allocation was not increased as per the request of the Arvind Kejriwal government.

The court gave time to Solicitor General Tushar Mehta a day to respond about the rationale behind the decision, according to Bar and Bench. “If you have a justification for leaving Delhi at 480-490 [metric tonnes of oxygen] or you can say that you would make amends,” it said.

Mehta said the Centre will respond to the court’s query and will give the reasons for giving more oxygen to Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra. “There are states which received less than what they had asked for,” he added. “We have been rationalising.”

Senior advocate Rahul Mehra mentioned the oxygen demand by several states and allocations made to them. He argued that only Delhi was not being given what it was asking for, while others were getting more than or close to what they were asking for.

Mehta responded that other states were being given more supply as per the surge in cases. “It is not NDA [National Democratic Alliance] helping AAP [Aam Aadmi Party] but the Centre helping the state,” he said, according to Live Law. “Ninety percent of our time is spent in firefighting the Delhi situation.”

On Wednesday, the High Court had urged residents not to hoard oxygen cylinders and medicines as the second wave of the coronavirus batters the Indian healthcare system. The High Court is hearing several matters related to the handling of the pandemic in the national Capital, and different benches have held marathon hearings. Another bench of the court on Wednesday said that it appeared as if the central government wanted patients to die as it noted the new protocol on using remdesivir to treat coronavirus patients.