The Bombay High Court on Wednesday, 19 May, said that the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) can start a door-to-door vaccination programme for senior citizens and disabled persons, who are unable to visit the inoculation centre.
The suggestion, from a Bench headed by Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice GS Kulkarni, came even as the Centre is not keen on starting the door-to-door vaccination programme.
“Will you come to the help of elderly citizens? Even though the Centre is not giving green signal for door-to-door vaccination, we are willing to give you (BMC) green signal.”Chief Justice Dipankar Datta
“If the BMC says it can start a door-to-door vaccination, we will give it permission. No need to wait for the central government’s nod,” the court said in a statement.
According to MidDay, the court was hearing a PIL filed by two advocates that reportedly sought the Centre’s direction to initiate a door-to-door vaccination drive for senior citizens, above the age of 75, persons with physical disabilities and those who are bedridden or wheelchair-bound.
The court asked BMC Commissioner Iqbal Chahal to file an affidavit regarding the same. The Bombay HC will hear the matter on Thursday, 20 May.
What the Centre Said
Appearing on behalf of the Union government, Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh said that an expert committee has been set up to look into the issue.
“The committee had a meeting on 18 May and has submitted a few suggestions like transporting people who are unable to move out of their houses on stretchers to vaccine centres.”Anil Singh, Additional Solicitor General
The court felt that the experts in the committee maybe academicians but they seem to have zero knowledge about ground realities.
“There are many households in our country that are situated in narrow by-lanes and elderly citizens and disabled persons living here may not be able to come out. Are you (Centre) saying that these persons are not entitled to get the vaccine? How do you (Centre) cater to the needs of such people?” Justice GS Kulkarni asked.
(With inputs from MidDay)