A Division Bench of Chief Justice Dr S Muralidhar and Justice BP Routray, Orissa High Court while addressing the petition seeking doorstep vaccinations for the elderly persons, the persons with disability and for those who are not capable of approaching the vaccination centres on their own, sought the response of Central Government.
In the context of recent order given by the Hon'ble Supreme Court on 30th April 2021 in the suo moto cognizance petition concerning ‘vaccine capacity and disbursal’, The High Court observed that the Hon'ble Supreme Court has sought the Central Government's response on the measures to be taken for ensuring that the rural areas and the socio-economically underprivileged members of society will not remain deprived of vaccination. Furthermore, the Supreme Court suggested that doorstep vaccination aids those persons and also reduces their chance of getting infected with COVID-19 as there will be no need for them to travel. The Supreme Court said that the use of mobile vans, vehicle and railways might make increase the possibility of vaccination in remote areas.
Considering the understanding of the Supreme Court's order, the High Court opined that the term "underprivileged" has to be understood from a broader perspective in order to include the elderly, disabled and those who are unable to reach vaccination centres.
The High Court stated that in the light of the issues raised in the petition before the court it is reasonable to interpret the term "underprivileged" to be inclusive of persons who are either because of old age or disability or some other reasons are incapable to reach vaccination centres.
"It must be possible to broadly interpret the expression 'the underprivileged', in the context of issues raised, to include those who, either due to age or disability or any other reason are unable to reach vaccination centres." HC said.
The petitioners, Sohan Mishra and others filed this petition to assist those who are unable to get to the vaccination centre and prayed before the court to ensure that those persons will get the vaccination at their respective homes.
Assistant Solicitor General of India, PK Parhi declared that he will look for explicit instructions on the Centre's policy on the vaccination facilities for individuals who are not in a situation to approach the vaccination centres and the matter is listed to be further heard on 12th May 2021.