Seriously consider lockdown to curb second COVID wave, revisit vaccine policy: Supreme Court to Centre, states
The SC issued a slew of directions to the Central and state governments on the Covid-19 situation and directed that no patient shall be denied hospitalisation or essential drugs in any State or Union Territory for lack of local residential or identity proof.
The Supreme Court of India on Sunday advised the central and state governments to consider a lockdown to break the chain of Covid transmission. The country's top court passed an order in this regard after hearing from officials over measures being taken to counter the second wave of the pandemic.
The Supreme Court bench of Justices DY Chandrachud, L Nageswara Rao and S Ravindra Bhat said, “We are cognisant of the socio-economic impact of a lockdown, specifically, on the marginalised communities… thus, in case the measure of a lockdown is imposed, arrangements must be made beforehand to cater to the needs of these communities.”
The top court also issued a slew of directions to the Central and state governments on the Covid-19 situation and directed that no patient shall be denied hospitalisation or essential drugs in any state or union territory for lack of local residential or identity proof.
The top court in its order noted that gaining admission into a hospital with a bed is one of the biggest challenges being faced by most individuals during this second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic.
"Left to their own devices, citizens have had to suffer immeasurable hardship. Different states and local authorities follow their own protocols. Differing standards for admission in different hospitals across the nation leads to chaos and uncertainty. The situation cannot brook any delay," it said.
"Accordingly, we direct the Central Government to frame a policy in this regard, in exercise of its statutory powers under the Disaster Management Act, which will be followed nationally. The presence of such a policy shall ensure that no one in need is turned away from a hospital, due to no fault of their own," it further added.
The apex court asked the Centre to revisit its vaccine procurement policy stating it would “prima facie result in a detriment to the right to public health which is an integral element of Article 21 of the Constitution”.
“There are several aspects of the vaccine pricing policy adopted by the Central government which require that policy be revisited,” in particular the rationale behind letting the manufacturers determine the vaccine prices for states and other private entities.
“All vaccines, whether in the quantity of 50% purchased by the Central government or the remaining 50%, are to be used for vaccinating citizens. The end use is the same,” noted the bench, adding that to compel the states to negotiate with manufacturers on the ground of promoting competition and making it attractive for new vaccine manufactures will result in a serious detriment to those in the age group of 18 to 44 years, who will be vaccinated by the state governments.
NOTE: Asianet News humbly requests everyone to wear masks, sanitize, maintain social distancing and get vaccinated as soon as eligible. Together we can and will break the chain #ANCares #IndiaFightsCorona