The Bombay High Court bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice Girish Kulkarni on Wednesday told the Maharashtra government to give priority to senior citizen under trials for vaccination. The court said the state must have "a policy based on priority" for inmates vaccination.
The bench while hearing a suo motu PIL pertaining to Covid cases in jails across state noted that the shortfall of doctors and other medical staff continues in the jails.
The bench was further informed that the vaccination of inmates is not being done properly.
Senior counsel Mihir Desai appearing for the PUCL (intervenors) informed the bench that there is no proper check of inmates having symptoms.
"One of my clients, a senior citizen showed all symptoms but he wasn't subjected to a Covid test. It is only after he got admitted to a private hospital, he was tested and found positive," Desai submitted, adding that the jail authorities must consider vaccinating inmates on priority basis.
On hearing this, Chief Justice Datta sought to know from advocate general Ashutosh Kumbhakoni if the jail authorities have identified which prisoners would be given the jabs.
At this, AG Kumbhakoni replied, "We are presently focusing on the above 45 age group."
To this CJ Datta said, "What about those prisoners among other age groups but are vulnerable? What do you plan to do for them?"
"In fact, senior citizen under-trials must be given the priority," Justice Kulkarni said, while adding, "Mr AG you must have not only a policy but a priority based policy wherein prisoners, who are vulnerable can be given the jab even if they don't belong to the age group, you are presently inoculating."
The matter has been adjourned for further hearing till next Tuesday.
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