NEW DELHI: The Centre had a torrid time before the Supreme Court on Monday as it was heavily criticised for its vaccination policy.
A three-judge bench led by Justice D Y Chandrachud posed searching questions to Solicitor General Tushar Mehta on the policy and the rural-urban digital divide.
Citing technical glitches on CoWIN application used for registration for vaccinations, Justice Bhat said he had received distress calls from all over the country, and added that young people, who had registered for vaccination, visit private hospitals, only to find all slots are booked.
Asking to take its suggestions in the right spirit, the bench said: “We are not going to run the Central government and make policies for you.” Responding to the Centre’s request not interfere with the policy, Justice Chandrachud said it’s a platform for dialogue across the spectrum.
“The idea is not to criticise, but to strengthen the arms of the government. The fact that MEA went abroad, had dialogue shows the seriousness of the situation,” he added.
The Centre claimed it was confident of vaccinating all eligible persons over 18 years by this year-end. The court then gave two weeks to the Centre to file an affidavit responding to the questions raised during the hearing on the vaccine policy.
Questions and observations
- Article 1 of the Constitution says Bharat is a union of states, we are not a federation of states. In a time of national crisis, it is the Union which procure vaccines for the entirety of the country by negotiating
- What is the rationale behind 45+ getting free vaccines but asking states to make own arrangements for under-45?
- How are you ensuring that migrant agricultural labourers get vaccination?
- 25% of the 50% jab doses available to states, goes to private hospitals that primarily service urban areas. Core rural areas are getting left out