The impact of judicial review by the Hon’ble Supreme Court has resulted in the central government adopting a centralized vaccination policy for inoculation. Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday announced that India would adopt a centralized procurement of vaccines with free vaccines for the 18-44 age group and with 25% of procurement reserved for the private sector as well. The policy will take off from June 2, 2021.
This move by the central government comes a week after the Hon’ble Apex Court asked for an affidavit from the centre seeking complete data on vaccine purchase in the past and an explanation on how it intended to utilize the budgetary allocation of Rs/- 35,000 Crores for vaccine procurement in a suo motu case.
While expressing concern over the vaccination policy a Bench of Hon’ble Justices DY Chandrachud, L Nageshwara Rao, and S Ravindra Bhat had mainly stressed a uniform price in the procurement of vaccines and that 18-44 age group persons be included in the free vaccination scheme. The Court further said that exclusion of this age group from the vaccination scheme prima facie is arbitrary and irrational.
Earlier on April 30, the Hon’ble Court dissatisfied with the vaccine policy and centre’s response in its affidavit has quoted that the issue was detrimental to the right to life and health under Article 21 and the central government should reconsider its policy in the interest of Article 14 and Article 21 of the Constitution.
While the centre defended that the judiciary cannot interfere in policy decisions and encroach into the realm of executive, the Hon’ble Court cautious and mindful of its limitations observed that it is highlighting the Constitutional problems with the executive policy and urge to reconsider the same.
The affidavit is due on June 15 and the next hearing is on June 30.