Consider marking homeless mentally ill with vaccination tattoos, HC tells Maharashtra govt | Mumbai news - Hindustan Times
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Consider marking homeless mentally ill with vaccination tattoos, HC tells Maharashtra govt

ByKAY Dodhiya, Mumbai
Jun 23, 2021 12:03 AM IST

The Bombay high court (HC) has directed the state government to consider marking mentally challenged, homeless persons with a permanent tattoo after vaccinating them, to identify them as inoculated

The Bombay high court (HC) has directed the state government to consider marking mentally challenged, homeless persons with a permanent tattoo after vaccinating them, to identify them as inoculated. The suggestions came after the petitioner informed the court that such persons neither have any identity document nor are mentally sound to inform the concerned authorities on whether they have been vaccinated or not.

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A division bench of chief justice Dipankar Datta and justice Girish Kulkarni, while hearing the public interest litigation (PIL) of actor and model TJ Bhanu, was informed by advocates Sarosh Bharucha and Shrey Fatterpekar that the petition was filed to ensure that homeless persons including those suffering from mental illness are given vaccines along with related post-vaccination care which is in line with the Central government’s guideline.

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The counsels submitted that the homeless, especially, those who suffered from mental illnesses were not aware of their condition and are usually seen roaming around aimlessly on the streets. The advocates averred that as such persons did not have any identification document on themselves nor were they in a position to give consent for vaccination, hence it was up to the state and Centre to come up with some mechanism to ensure that these persons are vaccinated.

The advocates also suggested that a biometric system should be put in place so that a record of whether such persons were vaccinated and if vaccinated when and where they received the jab is maintained.

Additional government pleader for the state informed the bench that the state was following the guidelines laid down by the centre in this regard. Additional solicitor general Anil Singh also confirmed that the state was required to follow the guidelines for vaccination issued with regards to the homeless, pavement dwellers and people with an unsound mind.

After hearing the submissions the bench concurred with the submissions of the petitioner and said that it was usual to see mentally unsound persons wandering on the streets and as they were wont to wander from one area to another it was difficult to keep track of them. The bench however observed that it was the state’s responsibility to have a system to maintain a record of the jabs administered to such persons and hence rather than putting a mark with marking devices would be useless as the same would get wiped off after a few days. The court suggested that instead, the state should think of some tattoo that would not only show whether the person has been vaccinated or not but also the number of jabs received by them.

The bench then asked the state to submit data of the number of such persons already vaccinated in the state and posted a hearing of the PIL after two weeks.

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