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Plea In Kerala High Court Seeks Vaccine Priority For LPG Delivery Personnel

Lydia Suzanne Thomas
25 May 2021 4:56 AM GMT
Plea In Kerala High Court Seeks Vaccine Priority For LPG Delivery Personnel
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A Registered Association of LPG Gas Distributors recently moved the Kerala High Court praying that LPG delivery personnel be included within the category of First Line Workers for Covid Vaccine priority. When the matter was taken up by a single bench of Justice AM Badar on Monday, the Government Pleader submitted that as per a Government Order dated May 19, persons providing...

A Registered Association of LPG Gas Distributors recently moved the Kerala High Court praying that LPG delivery personnel be included within the category of First Line Workers for Covid Vaccine priority.

When the matter was taken up by a single bench of Justice AM Badar on Monday, the Government Pleader submitted that as per a Government Order dated May 19, persons providing essential services are recognised for giving priority in vaccination for covid 19 disease.

Therefore, the Court ruled that the petitioner-association can take steps towards getting the beneficiaries vaccinated, if they are entitled.

The matter was directed to be posted on June 8, 2021.

The petition, filed by the All India LPG Distributors Federation (Kerala Circle) through Advocates Adarsh Kumar and Shashank Devan, assailed the egregious omission and failure on the part Union and State Governments to classify and recognized persons employed to carry out the supply, refill, distribution, transportation, loading-unloading etc. of LPG cylinders employed by the LPG Gas Distributors as First Line Workers for vaccine priority.

Pointing out that the nature of work required constant and close proximity with end consumers of LPG cylinders, it is argued that the exclusion of LPG delivery boys is arbitrary, unreasonable, untenable, unsustainable, unconstitutional, sans any intelligible differentia whatsoever, is in violation of Article 14 of the Constitution of India. A failure to include delivery personnel would also violate the fundamental rights to life and to carry out trade of one's choice guaranteed to the said employees under Articles 19 and 21 of the Constitution of India, it is asserted.

Drawing similarities between the nature of work carried out by frontline workers and the delivery personnel, the petitioner association states that LPG delivery personnel were categorised as persons carrying out essential work under the Kerala Essential Services Maintenance Act 1994 ('KESMA'). Since they carry out essential services, "the LPG delivery boys as well as those employees carrying out work ancillary to the same are duty as well as legally bound to ensure smooth and incessant supply, distribution, transportation, loading-unloading etc. of LPG cylinders to the end customers at their respective residences or such other places of the said customers' choice", the petition emphasizes. For this reason, they constitute "a highly vulnerable section in the society which is at a constant risk of being exposed to the alarming transmissibility of the above said pandemic, despite reasonable protocols and precautions being adhered to," it is further stated.

The petition narrates that representations seeking the inclusion of delivery personnel sent to the Kerala Chief Minister and the Directorate of Health Services had not been acted upon, the petitioner states that it was constrained to move the High Court.

The association seeks the following reliefs

Direction to State of Kerala and/or Directorate of Health Services to recognize and classify, by means of gazetted notification LPG delivery boys as well as such employees, employed under LPG distributors in the state of Kerala, as frontline workers in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic and thereby recognize and these categories of employees as prioritized beneficiaries of COVID-19 vaccination program;

Direction to the Centre to recognize and classify, by means of notification, order or otherwise, LPG delivery boys as well as such employees, employed under LPG distributors in the state of Kerala, as frontline workers in connection with directives/guidelines/orders/circulars etc. in association with COVID-19 pandemic situation, such as exhibits P1 and P2, and thereby recognize and classify the said category of employees as prioritized beneficiaries of COVID-19 vaccination program;

A Declaration that LPG delivery boys as well as such employees, employed under LPG distributors in the state of Kerala, as frontline workers in connection with directives/guidelines/orders/circulars etc. in association with COVID-19 pandemic situation, and thereby recognize and classify the said category of employees as prioritized beneficiaries of COVID-19 vaccination program;

Issue direction to the State of Kerala and/or the Directorate of Health Services to recognize and classifying LPG delivery boys and such other employees as frontline workers and prioritized beneficiaries of COVID-19 vaccination program;

In the interim, it is urged that may be pleased to direct the State of Kerala and/or the Directorate of Health Services to grant provisionally COVID-19 vaccination shots on priority basis to LPG delivery boys and such other similarly situated employees employed by the member LPG distributors under

It is also prayed that the State of Kerala and/or the Directorate of Health Services consider on merits the representations of the petitioner-association and pass appropriate orders pending disposal of the writ petition.

The matter is expected to be taken up next on June 8, 2021.

CASE: All India LPG Distributors Federation v Union of India and Others

 
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