New Delhi, May 12 (ILNS): A Public Interest Litigation has been filed in the Supreme Court, seeking directions to the Central government to formulate a uniform pan India policy of COVID-19 vaccination for providing it free of cost to every person within India and to constitute an independent body under the direct supervision of the top court, to ensure free and fair vaccine across all the states and Union Territories.
The PIL was filed on Monday by National Vice President of Social Democratic Party of India, Sharfuddin Ahmad, through Advocate A Selvin Raja.
According to the plea, Right to Life includes Right to Health under Article 21 of the Constitution, as held by this Court in catena of decisions, at this juncture, every person in India has the invaluable right to get vaccination at free of cost.
It is submitted in the petition that India has seen a sharp rise in COVID-19 cases beginning from February 2021, where India recorded 11,000 cases on February 10, and in the next 50 days, the daily average was around 22,000 cases per day and in the following 10 days, cases rose sharply with the daily average reaching 89,800.
Many Indian cities reported a chronic shortage of hospital beds and oxygen cylinders, which are also evident from the desperate cries for help on social media platforms.
The petition further submitted that though several state governments said that they are creating new facilities, but experts said that its going to be hard to keep up with the pace of the rising number of infections.
India has been consistently reporting more than 400,000 cases for days now. Crematoriums and graveyards have been running day and night in several cities and people have to wait for hours to get the deceased cremated or buried, but experts say that the actual number of deaths could be much higher.
People around the country pin their hopes on a vaccine to put an end to this pandemic. Covishield, which is being manufactured by the Pune-based Serum Institute of India, is priced at Rs 150 per dose for Centre, Rs 400 per dose for state governments, and Rs 600 a dose for private hospitals. Both the anti-Covid vaccines are administered in two doses.
In this pandemic time, this could seem to be an excessive profit as the majority of India’s people cannot bear these vaccine costs, the petition alleged.
It is highlighted in the PIL that the situation in India is graver in view of the density of population. The maintenance of social distancing is also hardly possible in view of the demography ghetto inhabitations and traditional habits, so prevention is better than cure.
Every person in India needs uniform and compulsory vaccination, otherwise in view of contagious nature of the pandemic, if a little population is left without vaccination on account of constraints of funds, even the vaccine to majority of persons may undo and the country shall remain always vulnerable to the pandemic, due to the people who have not been vaccinated.
“This Court, under its direct supervision/monitoring, may also constitute an independent body consisting of Epidemiologist, Virologist, doctors to discuss about systemic impact, including doctors who have specialization in public health, representative of pharmaceutical companies, Nurses, Public Health Workers, Social Workers, Auxiliary Nursing Midwives, Social activist and Volunteers to ease the and implementation to ensure free and equitable vaccination across the States”, claimed the petitioner.
The petitioner gave the example of slogan/mantra “No one is safe, unless everyone is safe” of the COVAX initiative co-led by the World Health Organisation, to ensure equitable access to vaccines across the world. ILNS/SHV/SS/RJ