The government of Tamil Nadu ordered the Madras High Court to consider providing vaccines against Covid-19 to disabled people irrespective of their age on a priority basis. The matter heard by the Bench comprising of Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy. It ordered the State to make a reasonable decision concerning the eligibility of disabled people after consulting with the Central Government.
The court noted that various documents submitted by the Central Government indicate how a large number of disabled people covered under the purview of high risk amid the Covid-19 pandemic. The group consists of some of the following:
a) Individuals with intellectual disabilities.
b) The ones who are suffering from muscular dystrophy.
c) Victims of acid attack.
d) Individuals with multiple disabilities.
To this, the Bench has commanded the State to prioritize the process of vaccination for such people. Also, per the first schedule of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016, the State could consider administering vaccines to a person above 18 years if he/she is going through any disability.
Further, the court looked into the States’ submission regarding the Government vaccination Centers in Tamil Nadu that would set up another counter solely for the persons with disabilities to avoid any waiting for them. Lastly, one of the crucial arguments put forward by the petitioner’s counsel was that people with disabilities were at an increased risk of contracting the virus.