February 4, 2021 11:50:30 pm
The Delhi High Court on Thursday declined to interfere with the government’s “policy decision” regarding those to be given priority in the Covid-19 vaccination drive in the national capital. However, it directed authorities to treat as representation a petition seeking inoculation of judges, judicial staff and advocates in the first phase of the drive, asking them to decide in accordance with the law and applicable rules.
“The government has its own priority and we see no reason to change it for Covid-19 vaccination because it is a policy decision of the respondent authorities concerned, which is based on a variety of factors,” said the division bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh.
In a PIL filed by advocate Amrendra Kumar Singh, it was argued that legal services and functioning of judicial system is “one of the sovereign functions of the government”, and members of the judicial system “have a right to be included in the first phase of vaccination” for proper functioning of the system.
“The well-being of the judiciary is essential for the citizens’ right to access justice, and the government, by excluding the legal fraternity in the first phase of vaccination programme, is indirectly infringing on the citizens’ fundamental right to access justice,” Singh argued in his petition, adding that restricted functioning of the courts has led to a crisis not only for lawyers and litigants but also for many, who draw their sustenance from the courts are being driven to penury.
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