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SC to hear PIL for including judges, judicial staff in priority category for COVID-19 vaccine

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New Delhi, Feb 16: The Supreme Court on Tuesday agreed to hear a PIL seeking inclusion of judges, judicial staff and lawyers in the priority category for administration of COVID-19 vaccine.

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A bench comprising Chief Justice S A Bobde and Justices A S Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian posted the petition filed by an advocate for hearing after two weeks.

The top court was hearing a PIL, filed by Arvind Singh, which said the Centre has not considered the claim of members of the judiciary, judicial staff, lawyers and their staff to be included in the priority category of group of population for COVID-19 vaccine.

"The purpose of the petition is to ensure that Judges, lawyers, court staff and the staff of the lawyers, who are also providing one of the 'essential services' in the form of Judicial Administration, are included in the priority category of group of the population for the administration of COVID-19 vaccine.

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They ought to be treated at par with other essential service providers for the purpose of administration of vaccine, said the plea, filed through advocate Rishi Sehgal.

The PIL stated that the Centre has identified the population group which are to be vaccinated first but the same is not based on any set criteria and apparently suffers from arbitrariness and non-application of mind.

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    "The 'Operational Guidelines' published by Respondents nowhere provides for any mechanism and criteria upon which such priority population groups have been identified, showing arbitrariness The said decision of Respondents is ad-hoc and not based on a rational basis," the plea said.

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