Tribune News Service
New Delhi, March 15
The Centre on Monday opposed before the Supreme Court a PIL that sought preferential treatment for judges, lawyers and court staff for COVID-19 vaccination, saying it may not be desirable to create a separate class below the age of 45 for it.
“It may not be desirable to create a separate class consisting of lawyers and others below 45 years of age and discriminating persons engaged in other trade, profession or business and working under similar geographic conditions and circumstances as such a classification would necessarily lead to discrimination,” the Centre in its affidavit.
The vaccine was already being produced beyond the manpower and infrastructural capacity and exported as well in view of the global pandemic, it submitted.
A Bench headed by Chief Justice of India SA Bobde said it would consider the PIL seeking inclusion of judges, judicial staff and lawyers in the priority category for the COVID19 vaccine on March 18.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta informed the Bench that the government has filed its reply.
Senior advocates Harish Salve and Mukul Rohatgi, representing Serum Institute of India and Bharat Biotech, said different high courts were seeking data as to how many vaccines are being produced and when will it be given to all.
“Please see that it’s a larger issue and needs to be decided once and for all by your lordship,” Salve said.
As Rohatgi sought transfer of all cases before various high courts to the top court, the Bench said it will take up the transfer petition along with the PIL seeking preferential treatment to judges, lawyers and court staff for COVID19 vaccination on March 18.