The Supreme Court directed the Delhi Government to apprise it of the steps taken by it to vaccinate homeless people against the coronavirus disease within three weeks. The Court of Justice DY Chandrachud was seized of the plea seeking rehabilitation of beggars and homeless so as to ensure that basic amenities including food, shelter and medical facilities including vaccination are provided to them. The direction came after the Delhi government failed to file any response despite a notice being issued to it in July, last year.
ASG Aishwarya Bhati submitted that the affidavit submitted by the Union was back on 8th of August 2021. Thus, the figures have been changed since then, she, therefore, seeks to file an updated Affidavit with the current figures of the people who have been vaccinated. She roughly states, “the figure so far, the first dose is concerned, 77lakhs people get it without documents, (those who don’t have identity documents) while in the second doze about 14lakhs of persons.”
The Bench earlier while issuing notice to Union of India and Delhi Government observed that in the context of COVID19, the beggars, vagabonds, homeless are entitled to medical facilities as others. The bench also showed its displeasure in the Prayer A of the petition, seeking to restrain the beggars, vagabonds and homeless people from begging at the streets and further granted permission to amend the plea so as to bring conformity as prayer A will not be pressed. Said, “this was a socio-economic issue that could not be remedied by the court.”
The Court had refused to take an elitist view to restrain the beggars, vagabonds and the homeless people from begging at the traffic junctions, markets and public places and expressed that this is a human problem, several socio-economic problems drove people into begging. Their poverty could not be wished away by passing an order to remove them from public places or streets. The Government should take measures to ensure that the beggars are fully vaccinated.
As the result, the petitioner has filed an application seeking amendment of the petition which prays the indulgence of the Apex court in order to provide rehabilitation of beggars and the vagabonds with the help of Social Welfare Departments and the District Magistrates of the states to ensure food, shelter and basic amenities including COVID19 vaccination to them.
The affidavit filed by the Union of India on 09.08.2021 states that the Co-Win software has aggregated data regarding vaccination of all persons without prescribed identity cards. Although, segregated data is not available for individual subunits like vagabonds and destitute. However, a total of 4,82,079 vaccine doses have been administered to people without prescribed identity cards as of 8th August 2021.
The affidavit further assured that the Government of India has taken all possible steps to ensure that the National Covid-19 vaccination Program is equitable and accessible to all sections of society, equally focusing on the weakest sections of society that lack access to various resources.
In the time of the COVID19 pandemic, the Government of India has regularly provided guidance and advisories to all States/UTs ensuring that groups like beggar vagabonds/the homeless etc. are able to utilize the services of Covid-19 vaccination like all other citizens of India.
Matter to be listed after 3 weeks.
Case Name- Kush Kalra Vs UOI