Courts Update MP HC directs Centre to reconsider efficacy of COVID-19...

MP HC directs Centre to reconsider efficacy of COVID-19 vaccination policy

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Jabalpur, May 26 (ILNS) The Madhya Pradesh High Court, noting that the state government has not received even half of the promised quantity of the vaccination doses for the month of May 2021, either from the Central Government or from two major manufacturers within the country in response to orders placed by them, opined that the Central Government ought to reconsider efficacy of its vaccination policy.

The Bench of Chief Justice Mohammad Rafiq and Justice Atul Sreedharan noted, “The Central Government should consider taking upon itself the responsibility of providing required number of vaccination doses to the State by setting up more and more units in all the States with required licence from the local manufacturers, to ramp up the production of the vaccination on war footing.”

The Advocate General informed the Court that the state of MP has received a total of 96.12 lakh doses of vaccine from the Government of India against which, a total of 87.61 lakhdoses have been administered to health care providers, frontline workers and citizens of the age group of above 45 years. He submitted that the State has made payment of 15 lakh doses of the vaccine, of which 2.5 lakh doses have been received by the State and accordingly vaccination of age group of 18 to 45 years has begun from 5th May, 2021. He further informed the Court that by the end of January, 2022, vaccination may be administered to almost all the beneficiaries in the State falling within the age group of 18 to 45 years, provided the required number of doses are regularly supplied by the Central Govt. and the local manufacturers.

Ld. Counsel for the petitioner submitted that the State Government under Article 21 of the Constitution of India is under an obligation to procure and provide doses to all the citizens regardless of the price, as health is the subject matter of the State under entry 6 of List VII of the Constitution of India.

Shri Naman Nagrath, Ld. Amicus Curiae submitted that major manufacturers in the international market like Pfizer and Moderna, in response to global tender issued for procurement of vaccine through global tender by different States, have categorically stated that they will directly deal with only the Central Government and not the State Government. He further submitted that in view of the order dated 15.4.2021 issued by the Central Drugs and Standard Control Organization, several restrictions have been put in place before an outsider manufacturer is allowed to supply the vaccination for use by different State Governments, which would further impede the process of procurement.

In this regard, the Court urged the Central Government to consider the suggestion made by the Ld. Amicus Curiae for relaxing the rigour of the order dated 15.4.202 issued by the CDSCO. The Bench further noted that “the Central Government should by itself consider procuring the vaccination doses in sufficient quantity from the manufacturers from outside the country to provide the same to the States, rather than leaving it upon the States to do so.”

Mr. Vikram Singh, Ld. Counsel for the Union of India sought time to seek instructions regarding the stand of the Government of India in this behalf.

The Advocate General also sought time to file a detailed affidavit/Action Taken Report to apprise the court regarding preparedness of the State Government for apprehending third wave of COVID-19. The matter is listed for further hearing on May 31. ILNS/BG/RJ

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