Courts Update Delhi HC issues notice to Centre, Delhi govt on...

Delhi HC issues notice to Centre, Delhi govt on PIL seeking vaccination of disabled on priority basis

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New Delhi, May 5 (ILNS) The Delhi High Court today issued notice to both the Central government and the Delhi government on a plea seeking direction to treat all persons with disabilities that qualify as per the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016 on priority basis for administering the COVID-19 vaccine, irrespective of their age.

A Division Bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Jasmeet Singh of Delhi High Court issued notice in the plea filed by two petitioners suffering with physical disability, and posted the matter for May 24.

The Public Interest Litigation sought directions to the respondents to treat persons with disabilities on priority basis and to make special provisions for them for administering the vaccine for COVID-19, in terms of the mandate under Section 25 (1) and Section 8 of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (RPWD) Act, 2016.

The petitioners submitted that it was a well-established principle that the Right to Life under Article 21 of the Constitution includes the right to health. According to Article 14, treating persons with disabilities at par with persons without disabilities is a violation of the right to equality, as well as right to life of persons with disabilities.

The Counsel for these petitioners submitted before the Court that persons with disabilities are more vulnerable to contracting the virus, as they are unable to follow measures such as social distancing, if they need care-takers, or wearing a mask, such as for persons with cerebral palsy, autism or any developmental disability.

The petitioners further submitted that persons with disabilities face more severe symptoms and a higher mortality rate due to COVID-19, compared to other persons.

The PIL drew the attention of the Bench on the issue that persons with disabilities depend on medical assistance, which has been strained during the pandemic and therefore, they suffer from poorer health during the pandemic, whether or not they are infected with COVID-19. ILNS/KR/RJ

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