No need for toll-free number for vaccination registration, walk-in facility available: Supreme Court

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The Supreme Court on Tuesday said that there is no need for a toll-free number for registration for COVID-19 vaccination as the Centre has already started walk-in vaccination, where people can go for jabs without prior enrolment.

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday said that there is no need for a toll-free number for registration for COVID-19 vaccination as the Centre has already started walk-in vaccination, where people can go for jabs without prior enrolment.

A bench of Justices DY Chandrachud, Vikram Nath, and BV Nagarathna said that prayers in PIL filed by one Bibhuti Bhushan Mishra have become infructuous. "Your petition was filed in the month of May seeking setting up of a toll-free number for COVID-19 vaccination registration. Since then lots of development has taken place and after our June 1 order, the government has started a walk-in facility for vaccination. Now people, who are not registered can go to these centres and get themselves registered and vaccinated. The prayer in the petition has become infructuous," the bench told Mishra, who was appearing in person. The petitioner said that a toll-free number will take care of the difficulty people in rural areas face in registration.

The bench said people who are not registered on the CoWIN portal can simply go to these walk-in centres and get themselves registered and take the vaccination for COVID-19. "The petition has been rendered infructuous by subsequent developments that have taken place since it was filed on May 27, 2021, during the second ways of the COVID-19 pandemic. As a matter of policy, walk-in registrations have been permitted. Hence, no directions are necessary for the petition under Article 32 of the Constitution.

The petition is disposed of," the bench said, in its order. Similarly, the bench also termed as infructuous the prayer of another PIL filed by advocate G S Mani, seeking direction to Centre and all States and UTs to ensure that proper medical treatment and facilities are being provided to non-COVID-19 patients like heart patients, pregnant women, having the disease with Kidney, Liver and lungs and patients waiting for major and minor medical operations and surgery during the lockdown period. The bench told Mani that he has filed his petition in May this year and now that lockdown is over, his plea has also become infructuous. "The first prayer has been rendered infructuous since the lockdown has ended.

The second prayer is overbroad since a general direction to enforce fundamental rights has been sought. In the circumstances, the petition is disposed of since no directions are necessary at this stage," the bench said, in its order. The top court, however, granted him liberty to approach the court in case of any necessity in the future. Mani in his plea has claimed that due to the COVID-19 lockdown situation patients are struggling to get proper medical treatment and they are not getting admission, proper medical treatment, and facilities in government and private hospitals in all the States and UTs due to heavy rush in COVID ward. "Many hospitals have stopped their emergency ward treatment and postponed major surgeries. Many non-COVID patients need regular treatment and care," he said in his plea.

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