PIL in Delhi HC to include members of judicial system in phase 1 of COVID-19 vaccination

Anushka Mansharamani

A petition was filed in the Delhi High Court seeking the inclusion of the judges, judicial staff, advocates and members of the legal fraternity in the first phase of the COVID-19 vaccination. 

The petition sought a direction to the Centre and the Delhi government to arrange the infrastructure required for the vaccination within 2 months. 

Amrender Singh, a practising lawyer and the petitioner in this case stated that the rule of law depends on the functioning of the courts and that litigants were suffering due to the delay in the delivery system. 

The plea submitted that several advocates amongst the legal fraternity had faced unprecedented times due to the pandemic and are currently still facing the repercussions. 

It further stated that the government had failed to include the legal fraternity in its first drive “without having regard to the life, health and wellbeing of judges, practising advocates and other staff of the legal fraternity”.

The plea also stated that the courts had not functioned to its full capacity due to the pandemic and every person dependent on the court from the small canteen workers, couriers to the lawyers and judges had suffered. 

The plea sought directions to extend the present vaccination program to the legal fraternity in order to normalize the working of the judicial system. 

The plea stated, “This will restore the faith of the people in the judiciary. Opening court halls and hearings in physical form are of seminal importance. It would be in the larger interests not only of the litigating public but also in the history of the administration. It will assuage a system that has been fractured by the pandemic.”

It also highlighted that the Supreme Court of Bar Association on 18th January had requested the Union Law Minister to extend vaccination to judges, members of the staff and lawyers who work in the judicial system as frontline workers, however, no action has been taken yet. 

Read also: Legal View: COVID-19 Vaccination in India