FPJ Legal: Bombay HC asks BMC to keep strict vigil on vaccination camps at societies, workplaces

MUMBAI: The Bombay High Court bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice Girish Kulkarni on Friday asked the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to keep a strict vigil on the vaccination camps being held at housing societies and workplaces.

The bench also ordered the Union government and the BMC to ensure there isn't any delay in vaccinating the more than 2,700 citizens, who have been victims of the fake vaccine camps held at various parts in the city.

The bench was hearing a PIL filed by one Siddharth Chandrashekhar highlighting vaccination fraud in Mumbai through advocate Anita Shekhar-Castellino

Senior counsel Anil Sakhare, representing BMC told the judges that about 2,774 odd number of citizens have been cheated in these fake vaccination camps. "Over 1,000 of these people have approached us (BMC) and we have checked them. There are no complaints," Sakhare told the judges.

"The police report states that saline water was used as a vaccine in these fake vaccine camps," the senior counsel added.

At this the bench sought to know if any steps have been taken to vaccinate these people. "We have written to the Union government to 'de-register' these citizens from the CoWin app and again register them so that they can avail the vaccination," Sakhare responded.

Having heard him, Chief Justice Datta ordered additional solicitor general Anil Singh for the Union government, to take immediate steps in this regard.

"Mr ASG, these people need to be de-registered. Please take some progressive and immediate steps," the chief justice said, adding, "Let's no delay this. We need to think of these victims. Thus ensure that they are vaccinated at the earliest."

Meanwhile, chief public prosecutor Aruna Kamat-Pai submitted the progress report of the investigations into the multiple fake vaccine camps.

"A total of 10 FIRs have been lodged till now and 14 persons have been arrested. A special team has been formed to investigate the case. And from now on, if there is any such incident, this team would deal with the case. Further probe is underway," the prosecutor told the bench.

Kamat-Pai, further, submitted that investigations into the first FIR lodged over one such camp in a housing society at Kandivali is likely to be completed soon.

"We would file a chargesheet within a fortnight in this FIR," Kamat-Pai told the judges.

During the hearing, Sakhare apprised the bench of the fact that fresh guidelines have been issued by the BMC wherein societies or workplaces desiring to have a vaccine camp on their premises will have to cross check with the civic body as to whether the vaccine providers for the societies are authentic and have registered with the BMC.

Justice Kulkarni, having heard the submission, said, "Mr Sakhare, BMC has to keep a strict vigil on all these issues."

The bench accordingly, ordered the Union government to de-register all the citizens, who were administered fake vaccines from the CoWin application at the earliest.

Matter has been adjourned for further hearing till two weeks.

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