Amid criticism of the COVID-19 vaccine policy by some states, the Centre asked the Supreme Court not to interfere. It said the 'wisdom of the executive should be trusted' in such trying times. The Centre also provided detailed information and answered the apex court on its queries about the handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. The hearing by a bench of Justices DY Chandrachud, L Nageswara Rao and S Ravindra Bhat is scheduled to be continued on Monday.
The affidavit submitted by the Centre urged against 'judicial interference' and said there's little room for it. The Centre also said that "overzealous, though well-meaning, intervention may lead to unforeseen and unintended consequences".
"In the context of a global pandemic, where response and strategy of the nation is completely driven by expert medical and scientific opinion, there is little room for judicial interference. Any overzealous, though well-meaning, judicial intervention may lead to unforeseen and unintended consequences... in absence of any expert advice or administrative experience, leaving doctors, scientists, experts and executive very little room to find innovative solutions on the go," it said.
In its affidavit the Centre said that it had written to all states and union territories to provide "extraordinary measures to augment the need of medical staff in the country". The Centre pointed out that a circular allowing medical students in their fifth year of study to be inducted for COVID-19 duty has been issued. Number of COVID centres, hospital beds, doctors and nurses have also been increased, it said.
Addressing the vaccine policy, the Centre said that like every country, India too followed a system of prioritisation in light of limited availability of vaccines. It said it opened up its vaccination drive to different sections of the population in a phased manner.
Vaccine doses available for states have been worked out based on the monthly production of vaccine manufacturers and the doses cleared by the Central Drugs Laboratory that are projected to be available with them. Vaccines have been proportionally allocated to states.
The Centre also assured the Supreme Court that the vaccine has been priced uniformly across all states. It said it has been given the vaccines at a cheaper rate since it placed a larger purchase order and since it paid up beforehand.