A petition in the form of Public Interest Litigation has been moved in the Delhi High Court seeking directions on the Union of India through Ministry of Home Affairs, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and Government of NCT of Delhi to remove the age limitations for deciding the beneficiaries of Covid-19 vaccination drive, widen and allow private entities participation in vaccination drive, and carry out door-to-door Covid-19 vaccination in national capital in light of the extremely alarming situation of resurgence of coronavirus cases.
The petition has been filed by a final year law student of Delhi University namely Mrigank Mishra and has been moved through Advocates Kushal Kumar, Harsh Ahuja, Aadtiya Kapoor and Akash Deep Gupta.
"That the current vaccination drive covers only people above the age of 45 years who are eligible for vaccination by visiting the designated Covid-19 vaccination centers. However, considering the ever-rising number of coronavirus cases, availability of infrastructure and resources, and in a situation where the governments have ruled out the possibilities of lockdown, expanding the reach of vaccination drive is the only solution to meet the ends." The petition states.
Furthermore, highlighting that States like Delhi, Maharashtra, and Rajasthan have requested the Central Government to remove the age restrictions for the purposes of vaccination, the petition states that the Central Government has denied such requests. Moreover it has been states that even the Indian Medical Association has submitted requests to the government to remove the age barrier and involve more private entities for effective immunization of the population.
"That said guidelines further provide for the Covid-19 Vaccine Intelligence Network (Co-Win) system, a digital platform which is used to track the enlisted beneficiaries for vaccination and Covid-19 vaccines on a real-time basis. It is pertinent to mention here that the guidelines had clearly stated that at the vaccination site, only pre-registered beneficiaries were to be allowed for vaccination per the prioritization and there was to be no provision for on-the-spot registrations.However, in due course of time, limited on-the-spot registrations have been allowed." The petition reads.
Furthermore, the petition states:
"That as on 06.04.2021, over 7,22,77,309 people have received the 1st dose of the vaccine and over 1,08,33,617people have received the 2nd dose of the vaccine. In Delhi, over 13,73,454 people have received the 1st dose and over 2,99,084 people have received the 2nd dose. It is submitted that the government is doing a commendable job in the vaccine administration but there is still a lot of space for improvement and effective protection of health and safety of the people."
The petitioner seeks the following prayers:
1. Pass an order allowing the present petition filed in public interest under Article 226 of the Constitution of India.
2. Pass an order issuing the writ in the nature of mandamus or any other appropriate writ directing the Respondents to relax/ remove the age criterion in relation to the beneficiaries of Covid-19 vaccination drive.
3. Pass an order issuing the writ in the nature of mandamus or any other appropriate writ directing the Respondents to allow more private sector participation in the vaccination drive in NCT of Delhi.
4. Pass an order issuing the writ in the nature of mandamus or any other appropriate writ directing the Respondents to formulate a policy to provide the benefits of vaccination drive to senior citizens, differently-abled people, and poor sections of the society by initiating door-to-door vaccination services in NCT of Delhi.