The Gauhati High Court has asked the State to file its response within three weeks, on a suo motu Public Interest Litigation (PIL) concerning the jail inmates, who are allegedly not being vaccinated against Covid-19.
LiveLaw reported that the High Court registered the matter as a suo motu PIL, pursuant to a letter sent by an NGO, Nilima Studio. The Court ordered, “List after three weeks. In the meantime, Mr. T. C. Chutia, learned Additional Senior Government Advocate, Assam shall file a reply affidavit.”
The letter sent by Nilima Studio was sent to the court after conducting regular visits to the correctional homes including the Central jails at Guwahati, Tezpur, and Jorhat along with the District Jails, along with Assam State Legal Service Authority (ASLSA) and the respective District Legal Service Authority (DSLA).
They allegedly discovered that despite vaccination campaigns spread across the state, the inmates in various district jails have not been inoculated against coronavirus, except the inmates of Central Jail, Silchar. The plea, according to LiveLaw, read, “In view of the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic being on the rise and with the increasing number of positive cases being detected each passing day it has become imperative that the vaccine is made available to the inmates in the different district and central jails of the State who are above 60 years of age and the inmates between 45 to 60 years of age with co-morbidities.”
The letter also stated that eligible jail authorities and officers have received the jab but not prisoners. The letter had also argued that Article 14 and 21 of the Constitution of India are guaranteed to all persons including prisoners.
“Considering the fact that the vaccination drive being a part of the policy decision taken by the Government, the same needs to be implemented uniformly at the earliest, particularly considering the increasing number of new positive Covid-19 cases being detected every day”, says the plea according to LiveLaw.
The Assam government has recently decided to vaccinate everyone in the 18-45 age group for free from May 1 onwards. The State Health Minister, Himanta Biswa Sarma tweeted, “Assam will give FREE vaccines to everyone from 18-45 years. GOI is giving free vaccines for 45 +.”
Assam will give FREE vaccines to everyone from 18-45 years. GOI is giving free vaccines for 45 +.
Funds collected in Assam Arogya Nidhi last year shall be utilized for procurement of vaccines.
— Himanta Biswa Sarma (@himantabiswa) April 20, 2021
In related news, the Bombay High Court has directed the Maharashtra Government to vaccinate all accused persons above the age of 45 years immediately after their arrest. The High Court had taken suo motu cognisance of the Covid surge in prisons, as per a SabrangIndia report.
The order may be read here:
Centre’s policy to not vaccinate elders at home unreasonable and arbitrary: Bombay HC
Siddique Kappan tests Covid positive, collapses: Plea in SC to transfer him to AIIMS
Bombay HC takes suo motu cognisance of Covid surge in prisons
Covid-19: Bombay HC directs State to vaccinate accused persons above 45 years upon arrest