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By Archit Mehta
Did PM Modi table new vaccine plan prior to Supreme Court criticism?
Here is part 2 of the Alt News investigation..
Readers should note that prior to Phase-III of vaccine roll-out, the Supreme Court took suo motu cognisance in the last week of April with respect to COVID management by the Centre. Phase-III, also known as Liberalised Vaccination Policy, was criticised on multiple grounds by the apex court. This review is still ongoing.
On April 30, the apex court had observed, “Prima facie, the rational method of proceeding in a manner consistent with the right to life (which includes the right to health) under Article 21 would be for the Central Government to procure all vaccines and to negotiate the price with vaccine manufacturers. Once quantities are allocated by it to each State Government, the latter would lift the allocated quantities and carry out the distribution. In other words, while procurement would be centralized, distribution of the vaccines across India within the States/UTs would be decentralized. While we are not passing a conclusive determination on the constitutionality of the current policy, the manner in which the current policy has been framed would prima facie result in a detriment to the right to public health which is an integral element of Article 21 of the Constitution. Therefore, we believe that the Central Government should consider revisiting its current vaccine policy to ensure that it withstands the scrutiny of Articles 14 and Article 21 of the Constitution.” (View page 40 of the April 30 order)
Therefore, to imply that PM Modi penned down a plan to procure 75% of the vaccines and provide free vaccinations for those over 18 years prior to the apex court’s intervention is false.
The Supreme Court hearing was on May 31 and the order was uploaded on June 2. Managing Editor of Live Law Manu Sebastian told Alt News, “The May 31 order passed by the bench comprising Justices DY Chandrachud, L Nageswara Rao and S Ravindra Bhat was uploaded on June 2 on the Supreme Court website.” (View PDF of May 31 order)
To be continued.....