Carry out ‘surgical strike’ on coronavirus: Bombay high court to Centre | Mumbai News

Mumbai: Bombay high court on Wednesday observed that the Centre’s approach should be like a “surgical strike’’ in vaccinating everyone against Covid-19.
A bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and justice G S Kulkarni said the Central government’s ‘Near to home’ vaccination scheme was like waiting for the virus carrier to come to the centre.
“You will admit that Corona is your biggest enemy. It may be residing in certain areas or certain persons who cannot approach the centre (CVC). Your approach should be like a surgical strike,’’ the bench said.
The HC said, “you are standing at the borders waiting for the virus carrier to come to you. You are not entering the enemy territory.’’
The bench said, “the decision if you had taken earlier, would have saved many more lives.’’
The HC’s oral observations were made while it heard public interest litigation (PIL) filed by two city lawyers, Dhruti Kapadia and Kunal Tiwari seeking a door-to-door policy for vaccination of the elderly above 75 years of age, the specially-abled, bedridden people. The first hearing in the matter was on.
“Your government is for the people. You have to find out how Kerala has been handling it,’’ said the CJ-led bench to additional solicitor general Anil Singh who represented the Central government, after Kapadia cited and showed how Kerala government was conducting door-to-door vaccination.
The bench remarked “If Kerala can do it? if it went for the Centre’s permission? Has there been any case of AEFI (adverse effect following immunization) If there are no adverse consequences…why should it not be for other states also to do it.”
To, senior counsel Anil Sakhare representing the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), the bench said a senior politician had received the vaccine at home in Maharashtra. “who did it? We want to know,’’ said the Judges.
Sakhare said he would seek instructions (from the BMC officers) and get back in a day.
The HC said, “we want to know now. We want to find out what is what. Either the defence is that BMC has nothing to do with it and the State government has to be asked”.
The HC asked both BMC and the State’s additional government pleader Geeta Shashtri to find out who had administered the vaccine to the politician at his residence.
The HC also noted that the BMC had said it was willing to do door-to-door vaccination if the Centre permits it.
Pointing to an additional municipal commissioner’s quote in a newspaper about BMC having sought Centre’s permission to give door-step jabs, the HC asked Sakhare again whether it was true.
Sakhare said the BMC’s affidavit doesn’t mention any such permission being sought.
“We have been saying BMC is a model for others,’’ said the HC expressing some dismay that it was not willing to start such a drive without Centre’s nod.
Kapadia said, “J&K is an excellent example and has given it to leprosy patients by going on two-wheelers too. They are doing it, why can’t it be done in Mumbai?’’ Looking at a compilation she submitted, the HC remarked on examples of door-to-door jabs in Kerala, Jammu, Bihar and Odisha and even in other parts of Maharashtra including Vasai-Virar Municipal Corporation.
The CJ too asked the state and BMC, if it is being done in South, East, North, “why not in the West?’’
“Have to keep the sentiments of people too in mind,’’ added Justice Kulkarni.
The HC asked why such schemes should not be encouraged in other states as well.
“The central government cannot clip the wings of those state governments and civic bodies who wish to do it (door-to-door vaccination) but are waiting for the Centre’s nod,” said the HC.
The ASG said the Centre is coming out with an amended policy soon, a uniform policy for all India.
The bench said, “No stone should be left unturned by Centre and State in the steps that the Centre and State have initiated and the steps that they propose to initiate.’’
It posted the matter to next Friday.

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