Gauhati High Court: Nani Tagia, J., issued directions to the State government to provide priority vaccinations for persons with disabilities.
The petitioner, a practising lawyer and a social activist, had filed instant PIL espousing the cause of the persons with disabilities in the State of Arunachal Pradesh within the meaning of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016 for administration of Covid-19 vaccine on priority basis. The petitioner contended that though the persons with disabilities were required to be given priority in attendance and treatment as per Section 25(1) (c) of the Act, however, the State Government had not made any provision to administer Covid-19 vaccine to the persons with disabilities by giving them priority in attendance in the administration of the Covid-19 vaccine.
Section 25 of the Act of 2016, reads, as under:
“25. Healthcare. – (1) The appropriate Government and the local authorities shall take necessary measures for the persons with disabilities to provide, – (a) free healthcare in the vicinity specially in rural area subject to such family income as may be notified; (b) barrier-free access in all parts of Government and private hospitals and other healthcare institutions and centres; (c) priority in attendance and treatment.”
Noticeably, the provision of Section 25(1)(c) of the Act, which provides that appropriate Government and the local authorities are required to take necessary measures for the persons with disabilities, to provide to such persons, amongst others, priority in attendance and treatment. Noticing that the Covid-19 vaccine in the State of Arunachal Pradesh had been administered free-of-cost to all persons above 18 years of age who volunteers for such vaccination, the Bench stated that the persons with disabilities would be entitled to administration of Covid-19 vaccine on priority basis including the attendance on priority during such vaccination.
Therefore, the Bench directed the appropriate Government to make a provision under Section 25(1)(c) of the Act for providing priority in attendance and administration of the Covid-19 vaccine to the persons with disabilities who are 18 years of age and above within a period of 4 (four) weeks, if the persons with disabilities volunteers to get themselves vaccinated.[Ebo Mili v. State of A.P, PIL 11 of 2021, decided on 28-06-2021]
Kamini Sharma, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.
Appearance before the Court by:
Advocate for the Petitioner : Sunil Mow, Madan Mili, Reken Ingo and K N Maling
Advocate for the Respondent: GA (AP) Taba Tagum SC(Health Dept)