Indian Supreme Court Junks Plea On Door-To-Door Covid-19 Vaccination Drive

By Zenger News Desk
Indian accredited social health activist (ASHA) workers Poonam Kumawat (L), and Santosh Godara (R), speak with villagers during an awareness campaign and survey to compile possible coronavirus cases on May 21, 2021 in Alakhpura, Sikar District, Rajasthan, India. (Rebecca Conway/Getty Images)

NEW DELHI — The Indian Supreme Court on Sept. 8 refused to entertain a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by the Youth Bar Association of India (YBAI) seeking direction to the governments to take appropriate measures for providing door-to-door Covid-19 vaccination of all citizens.

The plea particularly focused on door-door vaccination drives for the elderly, differently-abled, weaker sections, and those who are not capable of doing their online registration for getting the vaccination.

A three-judge bench of the apex court, headed by Justice Dhananjaya Yashwant Chandrachud and comprising Justices Vikram Nath and Hima Kohli, refused to entertain the petition filed by the bar association.

“We have formed a national task force on the same issue,” Justice Chandrachud said.

“The vaccination program is underway, and this court is monitoring the progress under the Suo Motu Cognisance plea.”

The apex court also said that at this stage, it would be difficult to issue general directions, especially with regard to diversity of conditions, and said that the court’s directions should not infringe upon the administrative powers of the state government, including door-to-door vaccination.

The court left the decision on the states to decide on the implementation of the door-to-door vaccine policy.

“These are not matters wherewith one brush you can pass a direction for the entire country,” the court said.

“Can you say the same conditions exist in Ladakh as in Uttar Pradesh or any urban area has the same conditions as prevailing in rural areas?”

The top court asked the petitioner to go with these suggestions and may approach the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

“It may be considered at an appropriate level,” the court said.

“This order will not have any impact on the suo motu proceedings being looked into by us.”

The petitioner had also sought direction from the respondents to have a 24/7 toll-free portal through which the incapable and underprivileged people may register themselves and which may resolve their queries and doubt in their regional language.

“Given the diverse Covid-19 situations and administrative complexities in the country, directing door-to-door vaccination is not feasible, especially when the vaccination is proceeding reasonably well,” the Supreme Court said.

The Youth Bar Association of India had filed the petition before the Supreme Court through lawyers — Sanpreet Singh, Ajmani, Kuldeep Rai, Manju Jetley (Advocate for the Petitioner), and Bably Singh.

“Direct the respondent to consider the necessity for providing door-to-door Covid-19 vaccination of all the citizens residing in India, particularly those who are elderly, differently-abled, less privileged, weaker sections and those who are not capable of doing their online registration for approaching the vaccination center,” the petition filed by the association said.

The petitioner also sought the issuance of guidelines or formulate a standard operating procedure (SOP) to give immediate effect to the functioning of  “Door to Door vaccination” to incapable people at free of cost.

“The Vaccination shall continue as before in Government of India at vaccination centers, provided free cost to the eligible population as defined earlier, that is, Health Care Workers (HCWs), Front line workers (FLWs) and all above 45 years of age,” the petition said.

“All vaccination (through Government of India and Other than Government of India channel) would be part of National Vaccination Program, and mandate to follow all protocol such as being captured on CoWIN platform [the portal for registration for Covid-19 vaccine in India] and all the prescribed norms. Stocks and prices per vaccination applicable in all vaccination centers will have to be reported real-time.”

The top court also refused to entertain another plea, which demanded compensation for kin in each Covid-19 death case treating it as medical negligence.

India reported 43,263 new Covid-19 cases in the last 24 hours and the current active caseloads in the country stand at 393,614.

(With inputs from ANI)

Edited by Vaibhav Pawar and Praveen Pramod Tewari


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