Bombay High Court: The Division Bench of Dipankar Datta, CJ., and G. S. Kulkarni, J., sanctioned door-to-door vaccination facility for elderly and differently-abled persons.

The Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (the MCGM) had heightened before the Court that it had informed the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India, of its willingness to conduct door to door vaccination and had sought permission to commence the same.

The counsel for the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Mr Anil Singh informed the Court that the Government of India had replied to the said letter of the MCGM informing that as per the COVID 19 vaccination guidelines, vaccination is provided at identified Government and Private vaccination centres and the State / UT’s had been repeatedly advised to operationalize ‘Near to Home COVID Vaccination Centres’ in order to bring vaccination services closer to the community for elderly and differently-abled persons and to operationalize such units in Community Centres, Resident Welfare Association centers/offices, housing societies, colonies, panchayat ghar/offices, school and college buildings, old age homes etc. in regard to which SOP had been issued on 27-05-2021. The letter also recorded that the issue of door to door vaccination for disabled and elderly was deliberated by technical experts in the meeting of ‘National Experts Group on Vaccine Administration for COVID-19’which had advised that vaccination cannot be given at the doorstep due to various issues and risks associated with maintenance of proper cold chain, potential contamination of vaccine, AEFI’s management, vaccine wastage, potential of COVID-19 protocols being compromised, etc. Accordingly, the MCGM was advised to follow the guidelines and advisories as per the National Covid-19 Vaccination Programme.

Considering the abovementioned, the Bench asked the counsel for Union government as to whether the Union government had in any manner prohibited other States; i.e. State of Kerala, UT of J&K and the other States who had commenced door to door vaccination to stop the same. To which, the Bench was informed that the Union government had merely issued a guideline/advisory. Pursuant to which the Bench stated,

It clearly appears to us that there is no categorical prohibition imposed by the Central Government for the States to undertake a door to door vaccination programme, for the elderly and disabled citizens…

Considering the willingness of MCGM in regard to door to door vaccination, the Bench urged the State government to take an appropriate decision on the issue. The Bench added, if the decision is taken permitting door to door vaccination by the State government the authorities should not wait for the next hearing on the matter and shall proceed to immediately implement the same.[Dhruti Kapadia v. Union of India, 2021 SCC OnLine Bom 831, Order dated 14-06-2021]

Kamini Sharma, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.

Appearance before the Court:

Counsel for the Petitioner: Dhruti Kapadia (In person)

Counsels for UOI: ASG Anil C. Singh with Advait Sethna i/by Anusha P. Amin

Counsels for the State: G.P. Purnima Kantharia with Addl. G.P. Geeta Shastri

Counsel for MCGM: K. H. Mastakar

Counsel for Pune Municipal Corporation: Abhijit Kulkarni

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