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Did not give home jab to senior politician: BMC to Bombay HC | Mumbai News – Times of India


MUMBAI: The civic administration in Mumbai informed Bombay high court on Friday that it was not the one who administered the vaccine at home to a senior politician in Mumbai and that it has sought permission on Thursday from the Central government to conduct door-to-door vaccination for the severely ill, bedridden citizens or other homebound due to any kind of disability.
For the Centre, additional solicitor general Anil Singh, sought time to reply and the HC posted to Monday a public interest litigation (PIL) it was hearing for door-step jabs to the elderly, bedridden or homebound.
Senior counsel Anil Sakhare for BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) gave the court a letter written by civic chief Iqbal Chahal on June 10 to Rajesh Bhushan, Secretary, Union Ministry of Health and family welfare, citing the HC order of June 9. Chahal said, If permission is granted, the civic body is willing and requested the “GOI to provide guidelines for conducting door-to-door Covid-19 Vaccination.’’
The HC is hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) filed in early April by two city lawyers Dhruti Kapadia and Kunal Tiwari for a policy to enable home jabs to the elderly aged over 75 and other specially abled and homebound.
On Wednesday the HC had asked BMC and the State to inform which of them had vaccinated the politician at home. On Friday, the bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice Girish Kulkarni said it “did not deliberately’’ put it in its order but again sought to know. Sakhare said, “it was not the BMC staff’’. For the State, additional government pleader Geeta Shashtri said she had “no instructions’’ and said a “week’s time is required.’’ The bench asked incredulously, “A week’s time?’’ and added that it reminded them of the “old saying ‘You show me the man, I will show you the rule.’’
To the special civic counsel Sakhare it said, “is it your contention that without the Centre’s permission you have never gone ahead with any decision?’’
The bench said in its review meeting the “municipal commissioner Chahal had said Maharashtra was the first state which was chasing the virus.. Did he ask for permission from the Centre to chase the virus? These were innovations that you (BMC) though of which you successfully employed and we were all very proud and happy that BMC has thought of them.’’
In its June 9 order the HC had said “disclosures made by Kapadia throw up issues that the State, Centre and BMC needs to address’’. It had framed four issues; “Whether the National Covid-19 strategy/policy, which does not specifically permit “door-to-door” vaccination of elderly and physically disabled citizens, can be deviated from by individual State Governments and “door-to-door” vaccination introduced by them without receiving a green signal in this behalf from the GoI? The other issues were if indeed Centre’s nod was not necessary for introduction of “door-to-door” vaccination, why does the BMC need one and whether BMC approached the GoI for such a nod earlier which had been denied and lastly “Whether the GoM is inclined to follow the Kerala model,’’ to start door-to-door jabs, if no central nod is needed.
The HC mentioned the first issue to Singh and asked “is it a binding policy or not?’’
Singh said its policy is “expected to be followed by states and municipal corporations’’ however it is not static and that the 20-member expert panel meets regularly and would modify it. He said “the pandemic is not an issue concerning only Maharashtra, or other states, but is a national and even an international issue’’
The ASg said, “It is not that we are not concerned that everyone should be vaccinated we expect it to happen by December at least…’’
The HC again asked him, “if Kerala is doing it.. why don’t you study the Kerala (door-to-door vaccination) Model and if it appeals to you then allow other states to do it.’’
Even Jammu and Kashmir is doing it said the Judges. Singh said the experts were informed and some places it is actually ‘Near to home’ which is what the Centre also has recommended for the home-bound.
The bench mentioned about an image on social media of a man getting vaccination while he was on a bicycle in the north and elsewhere people getting in while sitting in cars in Mumbai. “where is the waiting period?’’ asked the bench.
The HC asked the ASG to “advice the government to take some positive decision so that lives are not lost. You want people to come out and those who cannot come out, do not get vaccinated? This is the message being sent to the people.’’ On June 9, the HC said such policy had an “element of discrimination.’’
The ASG later sought time to respond to the BMC’s request and other issues raised by the HC and matter was adjourned to June 14.

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