HE Delhi High Court Thursday directed the Serum Institute of India (SII) and Bharat Biotech International Ltd. (BBIL) to file the affidavits disclosing their capacity to manufacture the COVAXIN and COVISHIELD Vaccine respectively on a daily/ weekly/ monthly basis.
The court also asked them to disclose the daily off-take of the vaccines from their respective institutes, how much excess quantity of the vaccine was lying not utilized and to indicate whether they could scale-up their capacities, if the need arose.
A division bench of Justices Vipin Sanghi and Rekha Palli also issued a slew of directions to the Central Government to furnish the following information before the court:
- The capacity to transport the vaccines while maintaining the cold chain, particularly in the NCT of Delhi;
- The extent to which the said capacity is presently utilized should also be indicated;
- The rationale behind keeping strict control over the class of persons who can be presently vaccinated.
The bench also said under the present arrangement persons above the age of 60 years and those falling in the age group of 45-60 years with serious co-morbidities alone could receive the vaccinations. It asked the Centre to explain the rationale for such a classification.
The court further directed the Delhi High Court Bar Association (DHCBA) and Bar Council of Delhi (BCD) to file affidavits disclosing the strength of the Bar Association and the members enrolled in the Bar Council as that would give a fair idea about how many people would need the vaccination within the judicial system in Delhi.
The affidavit should also indicate how many of them are likely to be covered by the existing policy, the court directed.
The Delhi Government was directed to inspect the medical facilities presently available in all the court complexes in the district judiciary and to report whether vaccination centres could be created in those facilities. The shortcomings in respect of those facilities, if any, should also be disclosed to the court.
The court asked all the concerned parties to file their respective affidavits by March 9 after exchanging copies with each other. The matter will be heard on March 10.
These directions came to be passed by the High Court in a suo motu case arose after the BCD sought a declaration that all persons associated with judicial functioning, including judges, the court staff and the lawyers as frontline workers, so that they could receive a vaccination on priority, and without limitations of their age or physical condition.
The high court, prima facie, found weight in the claim made by the BCD.
“Even if, they are not found to be suffering from one of the comorbidities, it does not mean that the risk of their contracting the disease and suffering serious health issues – including fatality, does not exist. To examine the aforesaid aspects, we are inclined to register this communication of Mr. Ramesh Gupta, Chairman, Bar Council of Delhi dated 01.03.2021 as a Public Interest Litigation”, the court said.
Read the Order