SC stays proceedings before Bombay HC on plea related to COVID-19 vaccination

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New Delhi, Apr 9 (PTI) The Supreme Court Friday stayed the proceedings before the Bombay High Court on the plea seeking COVID-19 vaccination on priority basis for members of the legal fraternity.

A bench headed by Chief Justice S A Bobde passed the order on a plea filed by the Serum Institute of India (SII) seeking transfer of the matter pending before the high court in Bombay to the apex court.

“List the matters after two weeks. Service be complete in the meantime. There shall be stay of further proceedings before the high court,” said the bench, also comprising Justices A S Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian.

On March 18, the top court had stayed proceedings in the Delhi High Court on giving priority to the legal fraternity for administering COVID-19 vaccine and favoured transferring the suo motu case on the issue to itself for adjudication.

The Centre had earlier opposed creating a separate class of lawyers and said that though it is not opposed to the legal fraternity members but tomorrow journalists and banking sector employees may also come forward seeking priority in vaccination.

The top court had also sought responses from the Centre and others on the pleas of the SII and Bharat Biotech seeking transfer of the cases from the high courts to the apex court.

The vaccine manufacturers have said that different high courts are seeking data on vaccine production and by when they will be able to provide it to all.

The Centre had earlier told the top court that it may not be desirable to create a separate class of judges, lawyers and court staff below the age of 45 for administering the COVID-19 vaccine on priority basis.

On March 4, the Delhi High Court had asked the Centre to explain the rationale behind keeping strict control over class of persons who can be vaccinated against COVID-19. At that time those above the age of 60 years or with comorbidities were eligible for vaccination.

It had said the two institutes which have developed the vaccines COVISHIELD and COVAXIN -- Serum Institute of India and Bharat Biotech -- to file separate affidavits on their capacity to manufacture the vaccines on per day/ week/ month basis and also the current optic of the vaccines and how much unused capacity is lying. PTI SJK ABA ABA RKS RKS