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Thursday, August 05, 2021

Not satisfied with progress made so far: HC asks state to frame guidelines for home vaccination

The bench was hearing a PIL filed by Mumbai-based lawyers Dhruti Kapadia and Kunal Tiwari seeking directions for the Centre, state and Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to provide door-to-door vaccination facilities to those aged over 75, the specially-abled and the bedridden.

Written by Omkar Gokhale | Mumbai |
July 16, 2021 9:23:35 pm
On Friday, a division bench of Chief Justice (CJ) Dipankar Datta and Justice Girish S Kulkarni observed that despite giving the state government two weeks to come up with uniform guidelines, it had not formulated any policy as yet. (File photo)

The Bombay High Court has expressed dissatisfaction with the state government’s progress on framing guidelines for door-to-door vaccination against Covid-19 for senior citizens and bedridden persons.

On Friday, a division bench of Chief Justice (CJ) Dipankar Datta and Justice Girish S Kulkarni observed that despite giving the state government two weeks to come up with uniform guidelines, it had not formulated any policy as yet.

It directed the state to formulate a policy by July 20, when the court will hear the matter again, and publicise the initiative for inviting applications of interested beneficiaries through newspapers too.
“We are not satisfied with the progress made so far. We are not saying anything more right now. We want an appropriate guideline. It is high time that you (state) should have formulated a policy.

Advertisements should be published in newspapers to inform people as to how the facility will be made available. Also, have helplines. We want it to be published and informed by tomorrow (Saturday) and guidelines by next hearing (July 20),” the bench said.

The bench was hearing a PIL filed by Mumbai-based lawyers Dhruti Kapadia and Kunal Tiwari seeking directions for the Centre, state and Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to provide door-to-door vaccination facilities to those aged over 75, the specially-abled and the bedridden.

Advocate General Ashutosh Kumbhakoni, representing the state, informed the court Friday that it has already invited a response from the public across the state on a dedicated email address and has published it on governmental portals and social media. So far, 13,584 bedridden and immobile persons who wish to get the jab at their residence have been identified, the state government submitted.

The state government, which had assured the court to start a doorstep vaccination drive for bedridden and immobile people on an experimental basis without waiting for the Centre’s nod from with Pune district, also submitted that only 50 beneficiaries have been identified by Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC), so far, while the Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC) had identified 1,969 bedridden patients.

The BMC, meanwhile, informed the court that it has conducted a survey for doorstep vaccination and identified 2,780 bedridden patients across 24 wards until July 14. The provisional report, submitted by senior counsel Anil Sakhare, states the highest number of 297 bedridden patients were in the R-Central ward, followed by N-ward (290) and S-ward (268). It said seven wards have submitted their reports while surveys in the remaining 17 were on.

As the surveys were incomplete, the state government told the court, it required some time to start home vaccination on an experimental basis. But the HC suggested that the state should start home vaccination on an experimental basis from PCMC instead of PMC to avoid wastage of vials.

Submitting that several people may not be able to express interest through digital means, the petitioner had sought a helpline number. Advocate Kapadia also said the citizens should be informed about the steps taken by the government for in-home vaccination of bedridden persons.

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