Two advocates from Mumbai have filed a petition in the Bombay High Court on Friday asking court to give direction to relevant authorities to give vaccine to people of advanced age which is of above age of 75 years, who are bed ridden or are physically challenged or handicapped.
Both advocate Dhruti Kapadia and Kunal Tiwari who claim to be a social worker have said that they got a numerous call from the elderly people who are unable to get vaccinated. So they decided to file the Public Interest Litigation (PIL).
There are many hardships which are being faced by people of advanced age in process of getting vaccinated. Because of their old age many of them are unable to stand in queues to get vaccinated which sometimes take 4 or more hours to get because of long queue. A lot of them are completely bed ridden or physically challenged which make their travelling to hospital from their house all the more difficult. Some of them are single or have no body available that can assist them in going to hospital making them completely unable to get vaccinated. If no facilitation to get vaccine is done for them they will be most likely unable to get vaccine. If these people don’t get vaccinated it will cause further health disaster.
There is no ambulance facility for old age people too. Some of the elderly people can’t get themselves registered for vaccination because they don’t know how to use internet. There is no provision in place for them to get registered by some easy accessible means like by calling a number. The lack of technological acumen to book a slot for them and get registered for the vaccination make them venerable & they could be left out because of this.
If the authorities are unable to provide vaccination to every citizen of advanced age it will be violation of their fundamental rights under Article- 21 of Indian Constitution of Right to life and good health.
There are also instances of people having no Pan card or Aadhar card so they are unable to get themselves registered for vaccination because these documents are made mandatory by government. The PIL seek to waive off this mandatory requirement, because by following this authorities are going against the principle of Natural Justice.
The PIL by both the advocates asked the court to give direction to Maharashtra Government, Central Government and Mumbai civic body BMC (Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation) to give facility to people of advanced age who are not in position to go out and are completely bed-ridden.
The plea also sought direction by court to authority to provide a helpline number to book for vaccination and provide for ambulance for pick up and drop service for senior citizens.
The PIL also stated the authority could fix charge around INR 500 to provide for the door to door vaccination.
The petitioner also cited a letter which was written by BMC to state govt in March seeking permission to allow door to door vaccination for senior citizens suffering from disabilities as it will increase the number of beneficiaries. But the govt turned it down on ground that it will slow the process and there is no such policy for Covid-19 vaccination.
In the plea they commended the extraordinary work done by authorities in helping citizen to get vaccinated and also making people aware of the drive but people of advanced age have not been taken into consideration it pointed out.
The petitioner suggested a committee of medical experts be made and with help of technology find a way out to facilitate vaccination to these venerable citizens.
A bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta & Justice G S Kulkarni is likely to hear it in next month. It is expected to be on Monday for urgent hearing.