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Micromanagement by judiciary not required: Bombay High Court asks state to consider suggestions on COVID-19 vaccination process [READ ORDER]

By Pariyal Gupta      12 June, 2021 10:00 AM      0 Comments
Micromanagement by judiciary not required: Bombay High Court asks state to consider suggestions on COVID-19 vaccination process [READ ORDER]

The Bombay High Court on Wednesday (June 8, 2021) directed the State Government to consider the measures suggested by a PIL Petitioner concerning the issues being faced by citizens to register for COVID-19 vaccination on the Cowin App. The order came in the Court’s order considering a Public Interest Litigation. (Yogeeta R. Vanzara v. The Union of India & Ors.)

The division bench comprising of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice G S Kulkarni also directed the State to adopt such measures if workable and not wait for the court’s orders.

Pointing out the irregularities in the administration of vaccines, the petitioners submitted that since vaccination slots were not being disclosed beforehand, citizens had to waste their time checking for slots throughout the day. 

Citing the example of districts such as Kolhapur, Nandurbad, and Gadchiroli, Advocate Jamsheed Master appearing for the petitioner informed the Court that these districts published vaccine slots in advance to enable citizens to apply for leaves beforehand. 

He submitted that the petitioner’s primary prayer remains to open booking slots in advance or at a fixed time so that people don’t have to spend long hours waiting for slots to open. 

He also pointed out that people between the age of 18 to 44 years suffering from comorbidities were at a greater risk of contracting the virus and hence needed to be given preferential treatment. 

In response, Justice G S Kulkarni said that along with the opening of slots, the availability of vaccines also needs to be ensured. 

Mr. Jamsheed Master then informed the Court that certain suggestions on vaccination plans had been forwarded to the State Government and the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC). 

The Bench then directed the State Government to consider the representation made by the petitioner. 

“Let them consider the suggestions. They have to balance your suggestion with the fact that the stock is not wasted, especially in situations where the people do not turn up despite registration. Judiciary will step in when it needs to. Micromanagement at this level is not required. These are administrative decisions let them look into the bottlenecks”, the Court said.

The following suggestion was made to the Government:

  • Making weekly plans available. Districts like Kolhapur, Yavatmal, Gadchiroli, etc. have vaccination calendars available for the entire week, unlike Mumbai where vaccination calendars are given on a single day basis. Weekly plans must be made available for vaccination centers in Mumbai.
  • Open booking slots at a fixed time so that people do not have to spend their entire day on the Cowin App waiting for slots to open.
  • Monitoring city task force. Nodal Officers must ensure that COVID Vaccination Centers are open, correction vaccination appointments are being given on the Cowin platform and if incorrect slots have been allotted then such citizens must be accommodated at another COVID Vaccination Center.
  • Walk-in facilities for economically backward people who do not have access to smartphones.
  • Engage technical experts and system specialists. The Government can use its expertise along with task forces and NGOs to ensure that vaccination facilities are offered even to the marginalized section of the society who do not have access to the Cowin portal.

Lastly, the Court observed “It would be desirable if the State Government looks into such suggestions and adopts such of those which are workable without waiting for orders of the Court. A response from the State Government on affidavit regarding such suggestion shall be filed by Wednesday next (16th June 2021).”

The Court posted the matter for hearing on June 17.



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