The development comes following a Supreme Court directive asking the Centre to reconsider its prices on Covid vaccines to ensure it withstands the scrutiny of Articles 14 (equality before law) and Article 21 (protection of life and personal liberty).
The National Task Force will formulate a methodology for allocation of oxygen to states and union territories for saving lives of COVID-19 patients and to facilitate a public health response to the pandemic.
The establishment of the Task Force will provide the Union Government with inputs and strategies for meeting the challenges of the pandemic on a transparent and professional basis, in the present and in future, the bench said.
The top court took note of its March 23, 2020, order by which it had directed all states and UTs to constitute high-powered committee (HPC) to consider releasing on parole or interim bail prisoners and the under trials for offences entailing up to 7-year jail term to decongest prisons in the wake of coronavirus pandemic.
The state-run liquor outlets operated by Tamil Nadu State Marketing Corporation (TASMAC), all bars, spas, gyms, beauty parlours, saloons, auditoriums, cinema theatres, recreation clubs and amusement and zoological parks will be shut during this period.
The Centre's decision to allocate these doses to 21 states and Union territories (UTs) came after Prakash Kumar Singh, director, Government and Regulatory Affairs at Pune-based Serum Institute of India, recently wrote to the Union health ministry seeking permission for the same.
Two days ago, the top court had stayed the contempt proceedings initiated by Delhi High Court against central government officials for non-compliance of direction to supply 700 MT of oxygen for COVID patients to Delhi, saying putting officers in jail would not bring oxygen and efforts should be made to save lives.