India News

At time of national crisis, top court cannot be a mute spectator: SC

New Delhi, April 27

Maintaining that it can’t be a mute spectator during a national crisis, the Supreme Court on Tuesday sought to know how the Centre planned to meet the increased demand for COVID19 vaccines once vaccination begins for all above 18 from May 1.

“As on date vaccination is for 45 years and above and from May 1 vaccination is to be opened to all ages who are above 18. The union shall clarify the projected requirements of vaccines due to enhancement of coverage,” a three-judge Bench led by Justice DY Chandrachud told Solicitor General Tushar Mehta.

Asking the Centre to clarify the basis and rationale for pricing of COVID19 vaccines, it said the government could invoke the Parents Act to regulate the pricing of vaccines.

“Modality should be put in place to ensure that shortage and deficit would be looked into.” It added. “Comprehensive panel of doctors should be made available for a citizen to know steps to take during the pandemic. The Centre to apprise us about the steps taken to form an identified panel of specialists which will be replicated at all state levels,” it said.

In view of senior advocate Harish Salve’s decision to recuse himself as an Amicus Curiae, the Bench appointed senior advocates Jaideep Gupta and Meenakshi Arora to replace him.

The court wanted to know about projected demand for oxygen in future, steps taken to augment supplies to affected states and monitoring mechanism.

It also asked the Centre to apprise it of the steps taken to ensure the supply of drugs such as Remdisivir and the modality put in place for seamless communication between district collectors with the Ministry of Health along with daily monitoring.