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Monday, May 10, 2021

No door-to-door policy but politicians getting jabs at home sends wrong message, says HC

Stating that political leaders in Maharashtra were not “class apart”, the Court told the state government lawyer to inform the concerned department of its warning that if it comes to know that leaders are getting vaccinated at home, it would take appropriate action.

Written by Omkar Gokhale | Mumbai |
Updated: April 10, 2021 1:03:37 am
The bench said that while HC had asked BMC Commissioner Iqbal Singh Chahal to conduct a vaccination drive for lawyers and judicial staff in the medical clinic of the HC building, the same was refused as there was a requirement of ICU. (File)

While maintaining that the President of India and the Prime Minister have gone to hospitals to get their Covid-19 jabs, the Bombay High Court on Friday asked the Centre and the Maharashtra government how some political leaders are getting shots at their homes if there was no “door-to-door’ policy for the same.

Stating that political leaders in Maharashtra were not “class apart”, the Court told the state government lawyer to inform the concerned department of its warning that if it comes to know that leaders are getting vaccinated at home, it would take appropriate action.

A division bench of Chief Justice (CJ) Dipankar Datta and Justice Girish S Kulkarni was hearing a PIL filed by Mumbai-based lawyers Dhruti Kapadia and Kunal Tiwari seeking directions to the Centre, the Maharashtra government and the BMC to provide door-to-door vaccination facility for people over 75 years of age, the specially-abled and the bed-ridden.

Without naming a certain leader getting vaccinated at home, CJ Datta said: “How is that important political leaders are getting Covid-19 jabs at home if there is no door-to-door policy? There has to be a uniform policy. What has happened has happened. If we find any report that any political leader is taking a jab at home, we will see to it.”

According to media reports, NCP chief Sharad Pawar, who is recuperating at home after a medical procedure, was given the second dose of the vaccine at his residence.

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The bench said that while HC had asked BMC Commissioner Iqbal Singh Chahal to conduct a vaccination drive for lawyers and judicial staff in the medical clinic of the HC building, the same was refused as there was a requirement of ICU. “Are ICUs available in the homes of leaders?” the bench asked.

“If anyone can get a vaccine, including the Prime Minister, at the centres, then why cannot political leaders in Maharashtra? They are not class apart. Even the President of India went to the hospital to take a jab. If they can go, why cannot everyone? This sends out a wrong message.”

Before the next hearing on April 21, the court asked the Union and state governments to file affidavits on vaccination protocols and whether senior citizens can avail a door-to-door drive. Stating that it will keep the PIL pending, the court said, “As we find from reports, the state is running out of vaccine stock. That is another concern to be addressed at a relevant situation.

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