The Centre’s approach towards fighting the Covid-19 crisis should be like a “surgical strike”, the Bombay High Court said on Tuesday, Live Law reported.
The court made the observations while hearing a public interest litigation filed by lawyers Dhruti Kapadia and Kunal Tiwari, seeking directions to the central and state governments, along with the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation, to start door-to-door vaccination for citizens above 75 years of age and those who are bed-ridden.
Chief Justice Dipankar Datta took note of Mumbai civic body’s submission that it was waiting for the Centre’s approval to start door-to-door vaccination in the city.
After the petitioner informed the court that Kerala and some other states were carrying out door-to-door vaccination for those who are bed-ridden, the court said, “Today we want to know what’s what. We are saying you are the model for the entire country. Did Kerala wait for the Central government’s permission?”
The court asked advocate Anil Sakhare, representing the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation, how a politician got vaccinated in his house when others are not allowed to.
The court also questioned the Centre about the delay in starting door-to-door vaccination. “Coronavirus is our biggest enemy,” Datta said, according to PTI. “We need to strike it down. The enemy is residing in certain areas and in some people who are unable to come out. Your [government’s] approach should be like a surgical strike. You are standing at the borders waiting for the virus carrier to come to you. You are not entering the enemy territory.”
The Bombay High Court asked the Centre why the Mumbai civic body should have to wait for its approval for door-to-door vaccination, while other states had undertaken this initiative. “State governments like Kerala, Bihar, etc have gone ahead but the Central government has not come up with a plan yet,” the court said, according to Live Law.
The court added: “You should gather information from them [the states who have started door-to-door vaccination]. Bombay has failed to live up to expectations. If it is selective then we have to come down hard.”
Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh, appearing for the Centre, told the court that the government will put out a standard operating procedure to ensure that everyone is vaccinated. “We are also concerned and working on it,” Singh said, according to Live Law. “We will be reviewing the situation time and again.”
The court will hear the matter on Friday.
On Tuesday, the Centre had informed the Bombay High Court that near-to-door coronavirus vaccination would be a more feasible option than door-to-door inoculation for the elderly and those bed-ridden.
The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare noted in an affidavit that the National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration also said that the near-to-door vaccination would be an appropriate solution. A meeting of the expert group was held on May 25 after the court directed the Centre to examine if door-to-door vaccination was possible.