The Supreme Court has directed the Union Government to produce all relevant documents and file-notings which reflected its thinking in the vaccination policy.
A 3-judge bench comprising Justices DY Chandrachud, L Nageswara Rao and S Ravindra Bhat passed this direction in the suo moto case on COVID-issues (In Re Distribution of Essential Supplies and Services During Pandemic).
During the hearing, the bench had raised several questions at the Centre's vaccination policy. On April 30, the bench had made a prima facie observation that the policy, which entails dual-pricing of vaccines and different procurement process for Centre and States, was "detrimental to right to life and health" and had urged the Centre to revisit the same.
Now, the Court has asked the Centre to file an affidavit within 2 weeks.
The Court has sought complete data on the government's purchase history of all the COVID-19 vaccines till date including Covaxin, Covishield and Sputnik V.
The Court ordered that the data should clarify:
(a) the dates of all procurement orders placed by the Central government for all 3 vaccines;
(b) the quantity of vaccines ordered as on each date; and
(c) the projected date of supply.
The Court also asked the Centre to provide an outline for how and when the Central Government seeks to vaccinate the remaining population in phases 1, 2 and 3.
"While filing it's affidavit, UoI shall also ensure that copies of all the relevant documents and file notings reflecting it's thinking and culminating in the vaccination policy are also annexed on the vaccination policy. Hence, we direct the UoI to file its affidavit within 2 weeks", the Court ordered.
The Court also ordered the government to provide data on the percentage of population that has been vaccinated with one dose and both doses, as against eligible persons in the first three phases of the vaccination drive.
This shall include data pertaining to the percentage of rural population as well as the percentage of urban population so vaccinated, the Court said.
The steps being taken by the Central Government to ensure drug availability for mucormycosis(black fungus disease) also must be explained in the affidavit.
The case will be next considered on June 30.
The Court has also directed all States and Union Territories to file affidavits to put on record their individual policies on vaccination. This was in the context of the Centre telling the Court that all State Governments have announced free vaccination.
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