Chhattisgarh HC directs state to distribute vaccines in the third phase of Covid-19 vaccination in an equitable manner

Chhattisgarh HC directs state to distribute vaccines in the third phase of Covid-19 vaccination in an equitable manner

Raipur: Chhattisgarh High Court has asked the state government to fix a reasonable ratio of allotment of vaccines to the 'Antyodaya Group', the persons belonging to the 'Below Poverty Line' and the persons belonging to the 'Above Poverty Line', with reference to all the relevant aspects including the vulnerability, chance to spread the disease and the number of eligible persons in the group.

The division bench comprising Chief Justice PR Ramachandra Menon and Justice PP Sahu on Tuesday directed the state government to have a discussion of the secretaries of the relevant departments at the higher level and to fix the ratio as above and distribute the vaccines in the third phase of vaccination in an equitable manner.

Interlocutory applications have been filed in the suo motu case registered by the High Court regarding Covid-19 pandemic. The intervenors and petitioners have challenged the legality of sub classification made in the circular issued by the state government regarding vaccination of people 18 to 45 years age group, merely with reference to the economic status of a citizen.

The intervenors and petitioners have stated that it is beyond the constitutional mandate and is patently in violation of the law of equality and the equal opportunity before law, besides discriminating citizens with reference to their right to life. Fixing a priority with reference to the 'financial status' is absolutely illegal, illogical and violative of the constitutional provisions and also the vaccination policy of the central government.

“If any steps are taken by the state government to have the benefit extended to such people as well, the object cannot be doubted. But, such a step has necessarily to be in conformity with the constitutional mandate and in tune with the guidelines issued by the central government at the national level”, the order said.

Pointing out the sustainability of the impugned order and the need to protect the poor, illiterate and less fortunate citizens, the High Court said that a Scheme has to be formulated by the state by earmarking appropriate share of the vaccines to them as well and set up 'Help Desks' providing spot registration and to administer vaccines to them, without compromising the right of the other segments who are entitled to have equal treatment with regard to the right to life.