Mumbai: Ensure citizens aren't made to wait for hours for COVID-19 vaccination, Bombay HC directs BMC

The Bombay High Court bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice Girish Kulkarni on Thursday ordered the BMC to ensure no citizen is made to wait for hours at vaccination centers. The HC further ordered the civic body to give priority to those citizens, who have registered online and are been allotted slots.

The bench further said that the authorities can make citizens registering on the spot, wait.

The bench was hearing a PIL filed by Yogeeta Vanzara through advocate Jamsheed Master highlighting the lapses in CoWin application.
During the hearing, Master informed the bench that there have been thousands of citizens returning home without getting the shots owing to shortage of the vaccine.

"There is no coordination. People are made to wait at the centers for several hours and are later told there is no vaccine. There are also instances of citizens getting certain slots and when they go there either there is no vaccine stock or the center is shut," Master submitted.
The counsel further told the bench of his father's experience, who was made to wait for eight hours to get his dose.
Having heard the submissions, chief justice Datta told the BMC that it should ensure that citizens don't overcrowd at the centers.
"We understand you (BMC) don't have stock. But you shouldn't give appointments when there is no stock. Call citizens only when you have the stock. Let's not be unfair with citizens they are travelling all the way to centers and are waiting in the long lines only to be told they can't be vaccinated," the chief justice said.

"Those who are registering on the spot must wait and those who register online must be given priority," the chief justice added.
Justice Kulkarni on the bench, further asked the authorities to have a more "humane" approach in this process.
"A senior citizen cannot be made to wait for hours altogether. You can consider allotting certain days only for senior citizens. Making them to wait for hours like this would amount to harassment," Justice Kulkarni opined.
During the hearing, the judges further noted that it was also the duty of the citizens to follow the restrictions in letter and spirit.
"The ones who are crying for vaccines now didn't bother to follow the lockdown restrictions. We (citizens) stopped wearing masks after December 2020 and started attending weddings after February this year throwing all norms and restrictions out of the window," the chief justice remarked.

The judge further reiterated that it is the duty of citizens to follow the norms.
"We as citizens should be more patient and not panic. Initially there were no complaints but now due to shortage of vaccines we are seeing people getting panicked. Let's hope for the best," the judges observed further.

The bench while posting the matter for further hearing till next Tuesday said the authorities must come up with a dashboard even for vaccines.

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