The Bombay High Court bench of Justices Sambhaji Shinde and Abhay Ahuja, on Tuesday, directed the Maharashtra government to file its say in response to a plea filed by a city-based couple that wants to send their minor daughter to the United States to administer her the COVID-19 vaccine. The HC has ordered the state to file its response within a week.
The judges were seized with a writ petition filed by Viral Thakker and his wife Bijal through senior counsel Milind Sathe.
Sathe informed the bench of the fact that his client's minor daughter holds an Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) card and is eligible to get a COVID-19 jab in the US.
"As per the US norms, owing to the pandemic, the entry of Indians is restricted. Only American citizens can visit the country along with a non-citizen parent and or a legal guardian," Sathe submitted.
The senior advocate further highlighted the fact that the US has approved the vaccination of children from the age of 12 years. However, in India, children below the age of 18 years aren't brought under the ambit of eligible citizens for vaccination.
"Thus, we have approached this court with a request to appoint our daughter's maternal aunt as the legal guardian, so that she can travel to the US and get her jab," Sathe told the judges on behalf of the Thakker couple.
Appearing for the Maharashtra government, Poornima Kantharia along with Jyoti Chavan, told the bench that the petitioner couple should implead the union government along with the US embassy as respondents to their plea. She submitted that it is the union government that can decide the issue. Accordingly, the judges asked Sathe to make the union government and the US embassy as respondents and adjourned the hearing till next week.
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