The Bombay High Court bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice Girish Kulkarni on Wednesday refused to declare advocates and judges as frontline workers so that they could be given priority in the ongoing vaccination drives. The HC said not all those who are performing public duty be labelled as frontline workers.
"On what ground do you want us to declare advocates and judges as frontline workers?" Chief Justice Datta sought to know from the advocate, appearing in person through video conferencing mode.
The chief justice said only those working for hospitals and medical staff can be called as frontline workers. Also, those who are helping enforce lockdown and other norms and are keeping a close watch on Covid management like the police, civic officials etc can be called frontline workers, the bench clarified further.
"You don't have any legal right to be declared as a frontline worker. They are those, who are treating Covid patients and helping contain the virus," CJ Datta said.
To this, the advocate told the bench that advocates and judges are performing public duty of administering justice to the citizens and protecting their fundamental rights.
"Advocates and judges have screens in all the courts (to attend matters). There are many who are performing public duty but not all can be frontline workers," the bench said.
"There is no need to have a label of frontline workers for judges and advocates. You will get your jab once you register and are called for (the jab)," Chief Justice Datta said, while adjourning the matter.