The Supreme Court has asked Centre to furnish data on the percentage of population vaccinated so far (with one dose and both doses), both in rural and urban areas, along with documents reflecting its thinking in connection with the vaccination policy.
A bench of Justices D.Y. Chandrachud, L. Nageswara Rao and S Ravindra Bhat said: “UoI (Union of India) shall also ensure that copies of all the relevant documents and file notings reflecting its thinking and culminating in the vaccination policy are also annexed on the vaccination policy. Hence, we direct the UoI to file its affidavit within 2 weeks.”
It stressed on Centre bringing on record an outline for how and when it seeks to vaccinate the remaining population in Phases 1, 2 and 3.
The top court also sought data on percentage of population, which has been vaccinated (with one dose and both doses), as against eligible persons in the first three phases of the vaccination drive. The bench emphasised the data should include the percentage of rural population as well as the percentage of urban population vaccinated so far.
“The complete data on the Central Government’s purchase history of all the Covid-19 vaccines till date (Covaxin, Covishield and Sputnik V). The data should clarify: (a) the dates of all procurement orders placed by the Central Government for all 3 vaccines; (b) the quantity of vaccines ordered as on each date; and (c) the projected date of supply,” it said.
As the Centre, in its May 9 affidavit, had said that every state/UT government will provide vaccination free of cost to its population, the court noted: “It is important that individual state/UT governments confirm/deny this position before this court.
“Further, if they have decided to vaccinate their population for free, then, as a matter of principle, it is important that this policy is annexed to their affidavit, so that the population within their territories can be assured of their right to be vaccinated for free at a state vaccination centre.”
The top court directed each of the state/UT governments to also file an affidavit within 2 weeks, clarifying their position and put on record their individual policies.
The top court also asked the Centre to submit update on steps taken to ensure drug availability for mucormycosis.
The order was passed by the top court in the suo motu case initiated by it to deal with issues relating to Covid-19 management in the country. It has posted the matter for further hearing on June 30.
On May 31, the Supreme Court had shot a volley of tough questions at Centre in connection with its Covid vaccine policy, and flagged various flaws: shortage of vaccine doses, pricing issues, registration for vaccination, and lack of vaccine, especially for the rural areas in the country.