Allowing Only Vaccinated People In Mumbai Local Is Illegal – Bombay High Court
In 2021, when the second wave of the coronavirus was only beginning to retreat, the Maharashtra government passed three orders, which allowed only those individuals who were double vaccinated to travel in Mumbai local trains.
On Feb 22, 2022, the Bombay High Court termed the state government’s orders of 2021 as ‘illegal’, adding that it straightforwardly questioned the fundamental rights of citizens in the state.
Bombay High Court Terms State Govt’s Orders as ‘Illegal’
Post the cusp of the deadly second wave of Covid-19 in 2021, the Maharashtra government passed three orders on July 15, August 10 and August 11, 2021, as per which only those individuals who were double vaccinated and the second dose of vaccine administered at least 14 days prior to the date of travel, could use the Mumbai local trains.
This measure was taken to avoid crowding in the suburban local trains, in order to keep a check on the growing Covid-19 numbers.
However, according to a Bombay High Court division bench, comprising of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice M S Karnik, the move taken by the state government was illegal and boldly affected the fundamental rights of citizens.
They stated that the three orders (of 2021) were passed by the then (former) chief secretary of government Sitaram Kunte, and were clearly not in accordance with the prescribed procedure under the Disaster Management Rules.
“The orders passed by the former chief secretary were in clear diversion of the prescribed procedure. Due to the illegal orders, the fundamental rights of citizens were brazenly affected,” added the HC bench.
State Govt’s Response to Bombay HC’s Call Out
Anil Anturkar, the state govt’s counsel on Tuesday, clarified to the High Court that the (three) orders in question were no longer being practiced and have been withdrawn.
“The state executive committee would be holding a meeting on February 25 following which fresh directives would be issued”, Anturkar said.
“We may withdraw the prohibition (on use of local trains by unvaccinated people or those who have taken one dose) or may impose it based on the present COVID-19 situation. At this stage, I cannot say anything further”, he added.