The Madhya Pradesh High Court on Thursday allowed the application filed by the private hospitals to return the remaining COVID-19 vaccine doses to the government, in view of the fact that the Central Government has changed its vaccination policy.
A division bench of Chief Justice Mohammad Rafiq and Justice Sujoy Paul directed the hospitals to return the indicated number of Viles/vaccine doses to concerned CMHO of Jabalpur, Gwalior, Ujjain and Narsinghpur who shall duly verify the same and the amount paid in-lieu thereof shall be refunded to the concerned hospital within a period of one month.
Importantly, the Court directed:
"In view of change in the policy of vaccination by the Union Government, now all the vaccinations will have to be provided free of cost. Hence, the application is allowed."
An application had been jointly filed on behalf of the Indian Medical Association, Jabalpur, and Nursing Home Association with the prayer that in view of the change in the vaccination policy by the Union government, they are willing to return the remaining Viles/vaccination doses to concerned CMHO who may be directed to refund the amount of Rs.5,56,500/- paid in lieu thereof.
The court allowed the application while hearing a bunch of petitions, including a suo motu petition initiated on the issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic and treatment provided to patients.
Change in vaccination policy
Changing the earlier vaccination policy, the Central Government has decided to procure vaccines for the State Governments as well, said Prime Minister Narendra Modi in an address to the nation on June 7 evening. This will be implemented in the coming two weeks.
The Central Government has also decided to give free vaccines for the age group of 18-44 years as well from June 21, the PM said.
It is pertinent to note that this decision comes after the strong criticism from the Supreme Court against the 'liberalized vaccine policy' of the Centre, as per which states get only 25% of the vaccine quota and the free vaccination benefit of the Central Government is restricted only to those aged above 45 years.
The Supreme Court made a prima facie observation that the paid vaccination policy for the age group 18-44 years as prima facie "arbitrary and irrational", as it was this age group that got badly hit during the second wave of the pandemic.
A bench comprising Justices DY Chandrachud, L Nageswara Rao and S Ravindra Bhat flagged several issues with the vaccination policy and urged the Central Government to revisit the same, by saying that the policy was detrimental to right to life and health.
"We examined the requests of the State Government and to not inconvenience the citizens of the Country, We have decided that Union Government will take over the 25% of the work State Government executed regarding Vaccines", Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on June 7.
From June 21 onwards, Union Government will give free vaccines to 18 years+, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said.
Private hospitals can only charge a max of Rs 150 as a service fee, the Prime Minister added.
Recently, the Madhya Pradesh High Court had directed the Government of India to examine a representation regarding the facility of the waiting list, for necessary modification in the Co-WIN App.
The Bench of Chief Justice Mohammad Rafiq and Justice Atul Sreedharan was hearing a writ petition filed by one Mukesh Dhanraj Wadhwani aggrieved by the system of registration of citizen for vaccination of Corona Virus on Co-WIN application.
Earlier, noting that Madhya Pradesh has not received even half of the promised quantity of the vaccination doses for the month of May 2021, the Madhya Pradesh High Court had asked the Central Government:
"To take upon itself the responsibility of providing required number of vaccination doses to the State by setting up more and more units in all the States with required licence from the local manufacturers, to ramp up the production of the vaccination on war footing."