BMC health workers thermal checking at Mukund Nagar, Dharavi.
BMC health workers thermal checking at Mukund Nagar, Dharavi.

Mumbai: The Bombay High Court bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice Girish Kulkarni on Friday questioned the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) as to why it was waiting for Centre's nod to implement door-to-door vaccination drive in the city. The bench reminded the BMC that it didn't wait for the Union government's nod for most of its own "innovative and fantastic ideas" it came up to fight the Covid19 virus and successfully implemented it

The bench was hearing a PIL filed by advocate Dhruti Kapadia seeking door-to-door vaccination drive for elderly and bedridden citizens. On Friday, additional solicitor general Anil Singh told the bench that the Union government expects the state governments to follow it's guidelines. "We believe that a proper coordination between states and Union government is a must to fight the pandemic," ASG Singh submitted.

During the course of the hearing, the judges sought to know from the BMC whether it continues to stick to its stand that it would proceed with door-to-door drive only after the Union government grants it permission. Senior counsel Anil Sakhare for BMC detailed the steps taken by the civic body since day one of the pandemic and how it followed the guidelines of the Union goverment.

Irked over the submission, CJ Datta said, "Let me remind you (BMC), your own commissioner told us that Maharashtra was the first state to come up with 'chase the virus' campaign. Did the civic chief asked Union's permission to chase the virus? It is not that u have always obtained their nod."

The bench asked ASG Singh if the Union is ready to grant permission to the BMC so that it can proceed with the door-to-door vaccination drive at the earliest. However, the ASG sought adjournment till Monday to respond on this issue.

However, Chief Justice Datta pointed out that since some states like Kerala, Jammu & Kashmir etc are conducting door-to-door vaccination drives, why can't the Union follow the suit. "When you (Union) have a policy which do not permit door-to-door, then how is it that individual state governments are introducing it, and are rather successfully implementing it. Is this policy applicable on all states?" CJ Datta questioned.

At this, the ASG submitted that the Union government also seeks to reach out to most of the citizens, especially those, who can't come out of their homes for vaccination. "We don't want wastage of the doses and also don't want any side effect on old age people while administering the doses," Singh told the bench.

But CJ Datta again pointed out that there has been no issue in implementing the drive in Kerala and other states. "Mr ASG, where is the problem? We want to know what is the problem? When states are successfully doing it without any wastage or AEFI etc. then why can't you replicate?" CJ Datta enquired.

Further, Justice Kulkarni questioned the Union government about its stand on the "successful" Kerala model. "Door-to-door is being done only in some parts of Kashmir and Kerala. Other states are only going near the home and not inside the homes," ASG Singh responded.

At this, CJ Datta said that he has come across certain photos on social media where in people can be seen taking vaccination while on their bikes or in cars, on the road. "There is no 30 minute observation being followed in such drives. Then why is it mandatory for door-to-door?" CJ Datta said, adding, "Our main concern is we want to save lives of people. Save the people who want to take vaccines but can't come out."

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Free Press Journal