The Bombay High Court bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice Girish Kulkarni on Friday expressed dissatisfaction over the policy of the Maharashtra government to vaccinate bedridden citizens at their door steps. The bench has ordered the state to come up with guidelines for door-to-door vaccination of the elderly and bedridden citizens, by Monday, without fail.
The bench was hearing a PIL filed by advocate Dhruti Kapadia seeking door-to-door inoculation of the elderly and bedridden citizens as they aren't able to visit vaccination centers to get their jabs.
On Friday, when the matter was called out for hearing, advocate general Ashutosh Kumbhakoni told the bench that the state has given 'wide publicity' to it's policy on doorstep vaccination for the bedridden citizens.
"We have given publicity about our policy in Twitter and even Facebook and other media platforms. A dedicated email id has been created and given wide publicity for gaining information on bedridden citizens," Kumbhakoni submitted, adding, "The family members of such citizens have been asked to submit information like the name, age and the reason for bedridden. This is being done through a Google sheet".
The AG further said that over 13,500 bedridden citizens have submitted their information through these sheets.
"Such information was never collected by the State Health Department and thus the local bodies are verifying the information on the basis of community survey," the AG said.
At this, CJ noted that a good amount of people have responded. "So what would be your future course of action?" the Chief Justice questioned, "Since this is a sizeable amount. We will start on a pilot basis from Pune," the AG responded.
The bench noted that there are only 50 such people, who have submitted information in Pune and around 196 in Pimpri Chinchwad.
"Then you (state) better start from Pimpri Chinchwad. Why in Pune where only 50 people are there," chief justice Datta said, adding, "This would also ensure that there wouldn't be any waste of the vaccines."
During the course of the hearing, senior counsel Anil Sakhare for the BMC told the bench that in Mumbai there are more than 2,780 such citizens. "Four wards in the city have completed the survey. But 17 wards are yet to complete the survey and that would need at least a week's time," the senior counsel told the judges.
Meanwhile, the bench noted that the state didn't given proper and wide publicity to it's policy and infact there wasn't any such information disseminated through print media.
"Mr AG you sought two weeks time we gave you the time yet you haven't come up with any policy? You are seeking two weeks for everything? You should have been ready with the guidelines by now," the chief justice remarked.
"We aren't satisfied with this progress. We aren't going to say anything more. By Monday we need the guidelines at any cost," CJ Datta added.
Further, Kapadia pointed out from a news report that the state has decided to vaccinate only those citizens, who are bedridden from minimum six months. "What if someone has met an accident a week or a month ago? Would they not be eligible for this scheme?" she questioned.
The bench said it would consider all these issued on the next date of hearing and adjourned the matter till Tuesday.