Updated: June 12, 2021 1:22:39 am
The Bombay High Court on Friday asked the Centre to respond to a June 10 letter written by Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) Commissioner Iqbal Singh Chahal to the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, expressing the civic body’s willingness to conduct door-to-door vaccination drives for severely ill and bedridden people. The BMC has also requested the Centre to issue guidelines for such drives.
The HC further asked the Centre how Kerala and Jammu and Kashmir were conducting door-to-door vaccination in the absence of any standard operating procedure. It also questioned the Centre’s reluctance to have such a facility while media reports have highlighted drive-in and roadside vaccination drives in certain states.
A division bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice Girish S Kulkarni was hearing a PIL filed by city-based lawyers Dhruti Kapadia and Kunal Tiwari, seeking directions to the Centre, the Maharashtra government and the BMC to provide a door-to-door vaccination for people over 75 years of age, the specially-abled and the bedridden.
On June 9, the HC had said that the Centre’s approach against biggest “enemy” Covid-19 should be “like a surgical strike” by providing door-to-door vaccination to the needy.
On Friday, Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh, appearing for the Centre, said that an expert group of the Union government had unanimously recommended “near to home” vaccination drives and that the Centre expected states and civic authorities to follow the same.
To this, the HC said, “Where is the problem (in adopting door-to-door drives), we are not understanding it. States are doing it successfully, why don’t you (Centre) communicate with them and know how they are doing it?”
The bench also asked the BMC why it was awaiting clearance from the Centre to conduct door-to-door drives, while it had taken various innovative measures to combat Covid-19.
As senior advocate Anil Sakhare, appearing for BMC, informed the bench about Chahal’s letter to the Centre, the HC sought to know the Union government’s response to it.
The HC will hear the case next on June 14.
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