NEW DELHI: The Bombay HC on Monday gave the Maharashtra government time till June 22 to take an appropriate decision on door-to-door Covid-19 vaccination for the elderly and disabled.
A bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice GS Kulkarni also said that if the state government took a decision to begin such a drive before June 22, then it was free to implement the drive “immediately” without waiting for the court’s order.
The court was hearing a PIL filed by lawyer Dhruti Kapadia seeking door-to-door Covid-19 vaccination for citizens above 75 years of age, and for those who were specially-abled or bedridden. The order came after the state and the BMC told the HC that the Maharashtra government had expressed an inclination to begin door-to-door vaccination drives for the disabled, bedridden, and such citizens, and for formulating a separate protocol for the same.
The state’s counsel, Gita Shastri, told the HC that while news reports had quoted state health minister Rajesh Tope expressing a willingness to begin such doorto-door vaccination drives, she was yet to take instructions on when a final decision would be taken. The HC then asked BMC if it would follow the Centre or the state’s guidelines in case Maharashtra began a door-to-door drive.
BMC’s advocate, senior counsel Anil Sakhre, told the HC that the civic body would follow the state’s guidelines.
Earlier, during the day’s hearing, the Union government’s counsel, additional solicitor general Anil Singh, had said it was not possible to make such door-to-door drives part of national policy, though some states, by ignoring the Centre’s advisory on vaccination, were holding such drives. He said the Centre’s standard operating procedure on the issue permitted “near-to-door vaccination”.
“We accordingly adjourn the proceedings to June 22 to enable the state government to take an appropriate decision on the issue of door-todoor vaccination for the elderly and disabled,” HC said.