The Bombay High Court on Tuesday directed the Maharashtra government and Mumbai’s civic body, Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation, to frame a policy immediately to avoid unauthorised vaccination drives in which beneficiaries may be given fake vaccines, reported The Indian Express.
The court specifically mentioned the Hiranandani Heritage housing society incident where close to 400 residents had paid Rs 4.56 lakh to the organisers of a vaccination drive. On June 18, the Mumbai Police had arrested four people for allegedly duping the housing society in suburban Kandivali by organising the drive fraudulently in the name of a private hospital.
On Tuesday, the court asked the police to submit an investigation report on the Hiranandani Heritage housing society incident by June 24, according to India Today.
The court asked the government to unearth the racket and trace the kingpin. It directed the state to submit progress reports of the investigations conducted in such incidents.
“In these kinds of matters of fraud in vaccination, the state should be very much serious and should not delay the investigation,” said the division bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice Girish S Kulkarni. “Let BMC and state government form policy on SOS basis so that no innocent persons suffer. The most unfortunate part is even in current times when entire humanity is suffering, some people are committing fraud. It is unimaginable. It is indeed a serious issue to play with the lives of people.”
The bench said the government must have some control to ensure that beneficiaries are administered vaccine and not plain water or spurious vial. “Imagine the plight of a person who is not vaccinated with the original vaccine,” it added. “What could be the state of his/her mind?”
The bench was hearing a public interest litigation filed by advocate and activist Siddharth Chandrashekhar, seeking the court’s intervention to resolve problems faced by citizens in securing vaccination slots on the CoWIN portal. Advocate Anita Shekhar-Castellino, representing the petitioner, submitted news reports of fake vaccine drives in Kandivali, Versova and Khar to the court.
Senior counsel Anil Sakhare, appearing for the Mumbai civic body, informed the court that the police had begun investigating complaints of fake vaccination drives.