The Rajasthan High Court on Thursday asked the state government to explain why it was treating Hindu migrants from Pakistan ineligible for anti-Covid inoculation despite its clarification that the Centre’s vaccination norms make them eligible for it.
A Jodhpur bench of the high court also took strong exceptions to the government’s failure to apprise it of their steps for giving Covid shots to people not having the prescribed identity cards, including the Hindu migrants from Pakistan.
Expressing its displeasure, a bench of justices Vijay Bishnoi and Rameshwar Vyas ordered the chief secretary to file a detailed affidavit to the court, enumerating all the steps taken by the state for inoculating people without valid identification documents in line with the Centre’s standard operating procedure for identifying them for vaccination.
The bench pointed out to the state government that it had already made it clear during the last hearing on May 28 that the Centre’s SOP for identifying people for vaccination in absence of any valid identification documents make Pakistani migrants eligible for vaccination.
The bench also took exception to the state government’s letter to the Centre seeking further clarification on identifying people for vaccination and declare Pakistani migrants eligible for vaccination.
“It is difficult to understand why the state government is seeking further clarification from the central government and requesting it to include the Pakistani Minority Migrants in the SOP,” the bench said tersely.
The bench made the critical remarks while taking a serious note of a letter submitted to it on Thursday by Additional Advocate General KS Rajpurohit.
The letter was written by the National Health Mission under the Medical, Health and Family Welfare Department of Rajasthan to the Union Health and Family Welfare Ministry with a request to include minority migrants too in the Centre’s SOP.
During the previous hearing on May 28, the court had ruled that the SOP did not exclude Pakistani minority migrants for vaccination and had directed the government to submit steps taken to include them for vaccination.
Sajjan Singh, the amicus curiae appointed on behalf of the Pakistani minority migrants, also submitted that even the Pakistani minority migrants, who have been declared as citizens of this country, are not being vaccinated on the ground that they are not having Aadhar Cards.
The court also gave direction to the state’s law officer to submit a status report on the availability of food to these migrants in Rajasthan on next hearing on June 10 after it was brought to its notice that except Jodhpur, migrants in Jaipur, Jaisalmer and Barmer have not been provided with food packets/ration supplies.