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Supreme Court notice to govt. on vaccination for persons with disabilities

The petition argued that protection for persons with disabilities was explicitly required under the Right of Persons with Disabilities Act. File (representational image)   | Photo Credit: R.V. Moorthy

The Supreme Court on Monday asked the government to explain steps taken by it to facilitate persons with disabilities to gain easy access to COVID-19 vaccines in order to equally protect them against the virus.

A Bench of Justices D.Y. Chandrachud and B.V. Nagarathna issued notice on a petition filed by NGO Evara Foundation, represented by advocate Pankaj Sinha, saying it had raised a “significant issue”. The court directed the government to respond in two weeks.

The petition has sought adequate provisions to be made by the government to vaccinate persons with disabilities at home.

It urged the court to direct the government to give preference to persons with disabilities while scheduling vaccination slots. The plea has also sought a dedicated helpline, besides CoWIN, for them to book their vaccination.

The petition argued that protection for persons with disabilities was explicitly required under the Right of Persons with Disabilities Act. The obligation of the State to make available quick and easy access to COVID-19 vaccine for them fell within the ‘Principle of Reasonable Accommodation’.

The Bench said it wanted to know what steps the government had taken to resolve the “genuine grievances” of persons with disabilities.

Meanwhile, the court also issued notice in a separate petition filed by the Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights seeking easy availability of vaccines for pregnant women and lactating mothers.

Advocate Vrinda Grover, for the Commission, said the petition was originally filed in May during the second wave. She said the government had since then framed operating guidelines for pregnant and lactating women.

However, Ms. Grover said very little was still known about the COVID-19 virus. “There is a need to conduct scientific research to see the virus’s effect on pregnant women and lactating mothers... There is a need to ensure continuous monitoring,” the senior lawyer submitted.

The court asked the Solicitor-General of India to explain the implementation of the guidelines.


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Printable version | Nov 27, 2021 12:17:53 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/supreme-court-notice-to-govt-on-vaccination-for-persons-with-disabilities/article36561739.ece

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