June 3, 2021 1:35:30 am
The Bombay High Court on Wednesday asked the authorities concerned why they cannot take a step further and visit homes of senior citizens, specially-abled and bed-ridden people to vaccinate them.
The HC also asked the Centre how some civic corporations were conducting door-to-door vaccination for senior citizens and
specially-abled without any policy in place.
A division bench, led by Chief Justice Dipankar Datta, was hearing a PIL, filed by city-based lawyers Dhruti Kapadia and Kunal Tiwari, seeking directions to the Centre, the state and the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to provide door-to-door vaccination to those aged over 75, the specially-abled and bed-ridden.
On May 20, the HC had directed the National Expert Group for Vaccine Administration of Covid-19 (NEGVAC), a committee set up by the Centre to consider introducing door-to-door vaccination drive and decide by June 1 whether the elderly and the disabled, who cannot visit vaccination centres, can be administered doses at home.
On Tuesday, Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh for the Centre sought time to look into the NEGVAC report and respond to the HC queries, which the court granted.
Singh also submitted that vaccine supply will increase by July end as production of Covishield and Covaxin will rise substantially. After the HC asked by when the entire population is expected to be vaccinated with first dose, Singh said as per the Indian Council of Medical Research, it will happen by December end.
Advocate Dhruti Kapadia informed the bench that door-to-door vaccination was conducted at various places in India without any policy in place. Kapadia added that as per news reports, the Vasai-Virar Municipal Corporation has started such a drive for leprosy patients, while various civic authorities in Maharashtra and other states had successfully implemented similar moves. Therefore, the Centre should devise a policy for the same at the earliest, Kapadia said.
Senior advocate Anil Sakhare for the BMC said housing societies are holding vaccination drives on their premises with the help of private hospitals.
Chief Justice Datta said, “I was informed that during last week, certain vaccination drives have been initiated by private societies in tie-up with private hospitals. If this is being done, you (governments) can take a further step and go inside the residence of those who cannot come out.”
The HC asked other petitioners, seeking setting up of a separate portal for vaccination slot booking in government and civic-run hospitals in Mumbai, to give their suggestions to the Centre.
The court held that as the Supreme Court was seized of the issue too, hence, the petitioners’ demand to order a week-long booking itinerary and fixed time for booking slots would have to be considered by the Centre based on what the top court decides.
The HC will hear the pleas on Tuesday.
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