PIL invokes Mental HealthCare Act in jab policy; Maharashtra says Oxygen ferrying price capped in another PIL | Mumbai News


MUMBAI: Bombay high court on Wednesday directed the state and the Centre to respond to a Public interest litigation (PIL) espousing the cause of a policy for vaccination of the mentally ill persons under provisions of Mental Healthcare Act.
The PIL by T J Bhanu, argued by counsel Sarosh Bharucha, sought to ensure a special ease of convenience and access to vaccination for those who may not be able to make their own decision, like the homeless and the mentally challenged. The sole concern expressed was over absence of a policy for such persons who have no ability to take an informed decision, said the HC order passed by a bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice Girish Kulkarni.
Bharucha said the Standard operating procedure (SOP) issued by the Central government on national Covid Vaccination drive is silent on this aspect.
The state’s lawyer Geeta Shashtri said it’s reply was ready and that a May 27 advisory issued by the Department of Health and family welfare addressed the concern in the PIL. The HC said, “Having read the advisory dated 27thMay 2021, we have our doubts as to whether the same covers vaccination of an individual who is mentally ill and has to be dealt with in accordance with the provisions of the Mental Healthcare Act, 2017.’’ It thus adjourned the hearing to June 22 giving time to the additional solicitor general Anil Singh for the Centre and additional government pleader Shahstri to return with better instructions from the governments on the issue.
Meanwhile, in a series of other PIL over other aspects of vaccination, the HC in one asked what steps were taken to create awareness among the rural folk on the importance of vaccination.
In another PIL by a city advocate Nishant Vyas, the HC after hearing his counsel Vishal Kanade on the absence of a price cap on transportation cost of oxygen, dispose it after seeing a decision by the State’s ‘empowered high-level committee’ of May 12, that fixed transport rates for liquid medical oxygen. The HC disposed of the PIL by directing the state to issue necessary notification within a week in compliance with the law
In yet another PIL on ensuring less crowding and better information of availability of vaccines on date of appointment via the Cowin app, HC took suggestions tendered by advocate Jamsheed Master on record and asked State to consider which of them are workable and to adopt them, while adjourning the matter to June 16.

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