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Don't Wait For Centre's Permission For Door-To-Door Vaccination, We Will Allow: Bombay High Court Tells BMC

Sharmeen Hakim, Srishti Ojha
19 May 2021 3:02 PM GMT
Dont Wait For Centres Permission For Door-To-Door Vaccination, We Will Allow: Bombay High Court Tells BMC
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After repeated directions to the Union of India to consider a door-to-door vaccination policy, the Bombay High Court asked the BMC if they could introduce such a program for citizens above 75-years, the differently-abled and bed-ridden. A division bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice G S Kulkarni asked the Municipal Commissioner to apprise them by tomorrow if he can...

After repeated directions to the Union of India to consider a door-to-door vaccination policy, the Bombay High Court asked the BMC if they could introduce such a program for citizens above 75-years, the differently-abled and bed-ridden.

A division bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice G S Kulkarni asked the Municipal Commissioner to apprise them by tomorrow if he can introduce such a policy, notwithstanding the Central Government's disinclination.

"We request the Municipal Commissioner or the Additional Municipal Commissioner of the Corporation to apprise us whether disinclination of the Central Government to formulate door-to-door vaccination policy for elderly and disabled citizens notwithstanding, the Corporation is prepared to introduce door-to-door vaccination for such citizens," the bench said.

It further orally observed that if the Corporation was willing, the court would grant permission irrespective of the Union's stand.

"Can you do door to door vaccination? If you can, we will allow you. Come to help old residents. Don't wait for central government to give permission," the bench observed.

The bench was hearing a PIL by two advocates Dhruti Kapadia and Kunal Tiwari, seeking directions to the Central government to initiate a door-to-door vaccination drive for senior citizens above 75, persons with physical disabilities and those who are bed-ridden.

Earlier, the HC had rejected the Union Government'sfive-pointer on why door-to-door vaccination was not feasible and asked it to reconsider its policy.

Door-to-Door Vaccination Could Have Saved Many Lives, Bombay High Court Tells Centre

During the hearing on Wednesday, Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh submitted a note and informed the court that an Expert Committee was formed to look into the issue, the committee met on May 15, and the matter was under consideration.

The bench remarked that the note doesn't show the court's orders were considered.

"Where is the part of the consideration of committee of our orders? This is not a policy for door-to-door vaccination; rather, this is against it. Where are the reasons why the committee finds it's not feasible to have door-to-door vaccination? You have to give those reasons!

I am not too aware of Bombay. But in my parents' city in North Kolkata, there are places where even a stretcher can't be taken inside. So if someone's bed-ridden, and there is no room for a stretcher to manoeuvre, how will you bring them outside?

The ASG said they were also concerned. "We personally talked to the officers. We understand if someone's bed-ridden it will be difficult to bring them for vaccination."

The bench then suggested the BMC come forward.

Advocate Dhruti Kapadia said that private companies, pharmacy's etc have been advertising that they can come home and give the shot. "If private companies can do it, why not them."

She further pointed out the Additional Municipal Commissioner Suresh Kakani's statement in a news report that had the Central Government allowed door-to-door vaccination, nearly 1.5 lakh people in Mumbai who are old and bed-ridden or handicapped could have been vaccinated.

The bench then sought the BMC's response, while reserving its comments on the Central Government's Expert committee meeting.

"Whether the Corporation is prepared to introduce door-to-door vaccination for such citizens and undertake measures for their vaccination upon making them aware of the aftereffects/consequences, under proper medical care and upon obtaining consent of either such citizens (if they are in a position to accord such consent) or their near relatives, for being vaccinated in pursuance of the order of this Court."

"Although newspaper reports, which are hearsay, are not admissible in evidence unless the veracity of its contents are proved by the maker of the statement or report, we are of the view that the Corporation ought to make its stand clear."

[Dhruti Kapadia vs UOI and others]


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