DOOR TO DOOR THE BEST POSSIBILITY FOR VACCINATION – BOMBAY HIGH COURT


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“You (Centre) will admit Covid-19 is a bigger enemy and we have to strike it down. This enemy resides inside certain persons who cannot come out. Your approach should be like a surgical strike. When a surgical strike is required, you are assembling forces near borders and not entering into enemy territory”. CJ Datta told Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh, representing the Centre.

The court was hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by two advocates, Dhruti Kapadia and Kunal Tiwari. The PIL sought a direction to the Central government to initiate a door-to-door vaccination drive for senior citizens above the age of 75, persons with physical disabilities and those who are bed-ridden or wheelchair-bound. The bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice GS Kulkarni indicated this during the hearing of a PIL for seeking door-to-door Covid vaccination . “ This is concerning people, who cannot come out. They cannot even be brought down. Should they not have vaccine only because they cannot be brought out”? The Bench asked.
“All the members who participated in the meeting which was held on May 25 after the court directed the Centre to examine if door-to-door vaccination was possible, agreed that Covid-19 vaccination could not be given at home due to the issues and risks cited by the Expert Committee,” the affidavit. The affidavit stated that 25,309 cases of adverse reaction after vaccination were reported till May 28. Of these, 1,186 were serious cases.
“There are many households in our country that are situated in narrow by-lanes and elderly citizens and disabled persons living here may not be able to come out. Are you (Centre) saying that these persons are not entitled to get the vaccine? How do you (Centre) cater to the needs of such people?” the court asked. “You (Centre) will admit Covid-19 is a bigger enemy and we have to strike it down. This enemy resides inside certain persons who cannot come out. Your approach should be like a surgical strike. When a surgical strike is required, you are assembling forces near borders and not entering into enemy territory”. CJ Datta told Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh, representing the Centre.
The High Court also wanted to know how a senior politician from the state of Maharashtra could get inoculated from home, and why a policy could not be made for it ? The HC said, “Door-to-door is the best possibility for vaccination to such needy persons”. BMC has said that it is ready but waiting for your approval. “My question to you is since the inception of this PIL, a very senior politician received vaccination at home and that happened in Mumbai. Who did it? The corporation or state government? Someone has to take responsibility. We are saying you (BMC) are a model for the country and you can do it (door to door vaccination). Did Kerala wait for the centre’s approval? BMC has failed to live up to our expectation,” CJ Datta said.
“As and when the guidelines for door-to-door vaccination are issued by the central government , the same will be implemented by the corporation,” the affidavit said. The Chief Justice asked counsel appearing for BMC, “We are only trying to understand what is the reason behind not having door to door vaccination? Why can’t you start door to door vaccination? We will grant you permission. Do not wait for the Centre’s permission and go to the aid of elderly,” the court remarked. The court also asked that the door to door service is being held in many other states like Ranchi , Kereka and Kashmir but why was it not being done in Mumbai .
“We are very much disheartened with the central government. Central government officials really disappointed us. Your officials are completely insensitive. Instead of making elderly people rush to the (vaccination) centres , you (government) must reach out to them,” the court said.
ASG Singh, meanwhile, submitted that the Centre will come up with new Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for vaccination for the needy this week, and said it will be a national policy. “We will be coming out with a new SOP . To ensure all are vaccinated . We are also concerned and working on it . We will be reviewing this situation time and again” Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh. The HC said, “Door-to-door is the best possibility for vaccination to such needy persons. BMC has said that it is ready but waiting for approval . “It’s happening in the south , the east and the north . Why not in the west”? The bench said before adjourning the matter for Friday .

REPORTED BY:-
CHITRANGADA S. DHONI


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