FPJ Legal: Vaccinate everyone, do not lower guard, Bombay HC tells Maharashtra govt

Mumbai: The Bombay high court has asked the Maharashtra government not to lower its guards as long as Covid-19 pandemic still persists in the state and said that we could not have people die because of the pandemic. The High court also stressed on the need to vaccinate everyone.

A division bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and justice GS Kulkarni were hearing a bunch of PILs highlighting the crisis arising out of the outbreak of the second wave of COVID-19 virus and government’s preparedness to handle the situation.

During the hearing on Tuesday, the judges said that they have read news reports on active cases of the delta plus variant being detected in Maharashtra. To this, Advocate General Ashutosh Kumbhkoni said that most of the cases were of Delta variant.

The chief justice said: “Delta or Delta Plus (variant), it has to be eradicated. We can’t have people dying because of this”, while stressing on the need to vaccinate everyone at the earliest.

The judges also said that the spectators watching the men's singles final at Wimbledon, London, last week, without masks, was the sight of the year. The judges said that the government should work at vaccinating everyone so that even Indians can step out without wearing masks.

Justice Kulkarni said: “The Wimbledon finals was the sight of the year. We don't know if you saw it, but not a single person was wearing a mask. The stadium was jam packed and nobody but one lone woman was wearing a mask. One Indian cricketer was also present and he too was without a mask.”

Kumbhkoni added that a similar scene was witnessed even in the recently concluded Euro 2020 where the entire stadium was packed with spectators and everyone was without a mask.

The judges wondered when would India see such a scene. “When will this situation (stadium full of spectators without masks) come here (India)? Vaccinating everyone is the key to it,” remarked the judges.

The judges also remarked that the third wave had already set in in some states in India, including, in some of the north eastern states, and hence the Union and state governments must be on guard.

The chief justice remarked: “There are reports saying a third wave has set in two states in the North East. We have to take measures. We are in a much more comfortable situation now. We do not want the guard to be lowered from here".

It said that the state must take necessary action to check the spread of infections.

HC has asked the state government to file an affidavit showing compliance of its earlier orders from fire audit report of hospitals to conditions of crematoriums and kept the PILs for hearing after three weeks.

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