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Thursday, June 24, 2021

‘Who will be number 2’: Delhi HC rejects plea seeking priority in vaccination

The division bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh further said: "Everybody is seeking priority. Everybody will be number 1? Who will be number 2? If we analyse, we will realise what a hopeless prayer this is?"

Written by Sofi Ahsan | New Delhi |
May 18, 2021 1:01:00 pm
A young woman receives her first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine in New Delhi. (Express Photo: Amit Mehra)

Rejecting a petition seeking delivery of COVID-19 vaccines on a priority basis, the Delhi High Court said it has become a “fashion in Delhi” that every now and then petitioners are rushing to court demanding first preference in vaccination. “Priority cannot be given. The government has its own priority,” the court said.

The division bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh further said: “Everybody is seeking priority. Everybody will be number 1? Who will be number 2? If we analyse, we will realise what a hopeless prayer this is?”

The court was listening to a petition seeking delivery of COVID-19 vaccines on a priority basis to Delhi and the priority vaccination of public transport drivers.

The court said the government has got its own departments and the petitioner is no one to advise them. It added that every government will ask for priority if the prayer for priority delivery of vaccines to Delhi is allowed. “What are the repercussions?” asked the court. “Then what will they say? ‘Should we stop giving to other states’”

The bench also said the court cannot formulate a policy on COVID-19 vaccination. “The policy has to be formulated by the experts of the subject. The drafting of the policy is a complex phenomenon. Varieties of factors are to be appreciated by high-ranking administrative officers,” it said, adding the petitioner can approach the court only if the policy is violative of the constitution or law.

The predominant role of the court is to interpret the law and decide the dispute between the parties, said the court. “Only in a rarest of the rare cases or only in exceptional cases, the legislative type of drafting can be done by this court,” it added.

However, the court also said authorities will treat the petition as a representation and will decide the issues raised in accordance with law, rules, regulation, and government policies applicable to the facts of the case. The court also said that similar prayers are also pending before the Supreme Court.

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