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Sunday, September 26, 2021

Consider BMC’s plan to vaccinate victims of fake drives within 7 days: HC to Centre

The BMC said that it had already prepared a plan to vaccinate the victims but was awaiting cancellation or deletion of their original registrations for vaccines on the CoWin portal.

Written by Omkar Gokhale | Mumbai |
Updated: July 30, 2021 7:43:29 pm
Vaccination drive in progress at civil hospital in Thane on Friday. (Express Photo by Deepak Joshi)

The Bombay High Court directed the central government Friday to decide within seven days on the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s proposed plan of action to vaccinate more than 2,700 persons who fell victim to fake and unauthorised Covid-19 vaccination camps held in the city between May 25 and June 6.

The civic body had earlier informed HC that at least 2,773 people have been given fake vaccines filled with saline water at unauthorised camps held in Mumbai. The BMC said that it had already prepared a plan to vaccinate the victims but was awaiting cancellation or deletion of their original registrations for vaccines on the CoWin portal.

Senior advocate Anil Sakhare, representing BMC, submitted Friday before a division bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice Girish S Kulkarni that for vaccination of the “unfortunate people, who were victims of nefarious activities”, the civic authority has made a plan of action and the same required the central government’s approval pertaining to deletion of earlier registration of victims.

The BMC counsel told the division bench, which was hearing a PIL filed by Mumbai-based lawyer Siddharth
Chandrashekhar, through advocate Anita Shekhar-Castellino, raising concerns over fake vaccination and seeking priority vaccination slots for the elderly, that of the 391 victims of fake vaccination at a camp organised at Hiranandani Society in Kandivali, 363 people had been traced. Of them, 161 were vaccinated again, the BMC counsel said.

Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh, representing the Centre, submitted that currently there is no specific provision for deletion of registration but the government will look into the matter to enable victims to re-register on the portal for vaccination.

“We are of the view that the appropriate authority at the highest level of the central government should look into the proposed action plan and approve the same with or without modifications, within seven days from the date. Follow up actions shall be taken without waiting for further orders of the court,” the bench noted.

Chief Public Prosecutor Aruna Pai, representing Mumbai Police, meanwhile, submitted that while she had made a statement in the previous hearing that the police report, under Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) section 173, in connection with an FIR registered in Kandivali would be filed before a magistrate within a fortnight, the same could not be filed to unavailability of chemical analysis (CA) report from the Haffkine Institute.

The bench observed there should be a “full-proof investigation to culminate in an appropriate police report so that none of the culprits responsible for the fake vaccination camps is let off”. It added, “With that in mind, it would be proper to grant time to the investigating officer to file the police report. It would also be desirable that the Institute makes available the chemical analysis report as early as possible to facilitate completion of the investigation.” HC will hear the plea next on August 30.

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