The Supreme Court on Wednesday said that it cannot give generalised directives to the government to introduce a door-to-door vaccination policy for inoculation against coronavirus, Live Law reported.
A bench of Justices DY Chandrachud, Vikram Nath and Bela Trivedi said it was difficult to issue such an order on the matter as the vaccination process was already underway.
The court was hearing a public interest litigation by the Youth Bar Association of India seeking door-to-door inoculation for all Indian citizens, particularly the elderly, persons with disabilities and those unable to register themselves online for vaccination.
The petition contended that door-to-door vaccination was needed especially for vulnerable groups. It also submitted that the policy would minimise the risk of people catching infections while reaching vaccination centres.
However on Wednesday, the Supreme Court said that such petitions were a product of ignorance about the country’s diversity. The bench asked the association if it wanted the court to direct the government to scrap its current vaccination drive at a time when more than 60% of the population had received at least one dose of the vaccine, The Hindu reported.
“Do the same conditions prevail in Ladakh and Kerala, or Uttar Pradesh?” Justice Chandrachud asked the counsel for the petitioner. “Are the challenges same in urban parts of India and the rural areas?...You cannot ask the same thing, in one stroke of the brush, for the entire country.”
The court also noted that directions passed by it should not impinge upon the government’s current vaccination policy. It added that the Supreme Court was already monitoring the vaccination drive through a suo motu petition, and has constituted a National Task Force for this purpose.
The court disposed the petition, but allowed the association to submit a representation to the Union health ministry with its suggestions. The petitioner’s counsel then sought directions to the ministry to consider the representation in a time-bound manner.
However, the court refused to pass any such direction either taking note of the “pressure” health ministry officials were facing due to the pandemic situation.
Authorities in some parts of the country have been conducting door-to-door vaccination for certain groups of people. On August 1, Mumbai’s civic body, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation, started such vaccinations for bed-ridden and immobile people.
On August 12, the civic body told the Bombay High Court that 4,889 people had registered for the campaign, ANI reported. Out of these, 1,317 people were vaccinated till August 9, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation said.
In May, health officials in Jammu and Kashmir carried out a door-to-door vaccination campaign for those living in villages near the Line of Control, NDTV reported. Health officials told the news channel that they carried out the campaign as many villages in the area had no access to the internet and online registration was not possible.