Include practicing lawyers and clerks in the vaccine priority list: High Court of Kerala
In significant relief for members of the legal fraternity, the Kerala High Court has ordered the state government to include sitting lawyers and their clerks on the priority list for COVID-19 vaccination in the cluster. age of 18-45 within 10 days.
The court adopted the instruction noting that the government issued an order on June 2 to include judges and court staff in the vaccine priority list, but excluded lawyers and court clerks.
The Court observed that the exclusion of lawyers and court clerks would run counter to the objective of giving priority to judges and court staff.
The order adopted by a divisional bench comprising Judges A Muhamed Mustaque and Judge Dr Kauser Edappagath stated:
“Taking into account the fact that the government has already included judicial officers and judicial personnel in the priority category, we are of the opinion that practicing lawyers and clerks can also be included, because otherwise the very aim of the inclusion of the judicial officers and judicial personnel would no longer make sense. The benefit should only be granted to lawyers and court clerks who are actually engaged in the practice. The government can devise any modalities to find these lawyers and clerks. Therefore, We ask the government to include practicing lawyers and clerks in the priority category for vaccination against Covid 19 as well as judicial officers and other staff in light of the government decree of 2.6.2021. The necessary must be done within 10 days “.
The instruction was adopted in a motion filed by Benny Antony Parel seek immunization priority for lawyers, judges, clerks and court staff.
Lawyer Saiby Jose Kidangoor, the petitioner’s lawyer, argued that excluding lawyers and court clerks from the priority list would be counterproductive for the inclusion of judges and court staff, as these categories of people fall within in close interaction and their active participation is necessary for the administration of justice.
The bench agreed with this argument.
“The administration of justice, even in times of pandemic, is a great challenge for judicial institutions. Today, many directives issued by the courts of this country have come to the aid of citizens who have been deprived of many essential supplies, including In the administration of justice, lawyers and clerks have an equal participation and without their active participation, the institution can not perform their duties. If the Government has decided to give priority to the judicial officers and to the staff of the Tribunal de Grande Instance and the Courts For the same reason, practicing lawyers and clerks should also be given priority, because they are essential to the exercise of justice and without their participation it is impossible for the institution to function.
As the learned counsel Sri. Saiby Jose Kindangoor, the whole exercise of including judicial officers and staff of the High Court and subordinate courts in the priority category would make no sense if practicing lawyers and clerks were not included .
In accordance with the ordinance passed by the State Government’s Department of Health and Family Welfare, the following categories have been included:
- Police intern
- Volunteers working in the field.
- Meteorological service field workers.
- Workers on the ground of the railway subway.
- Water metro field workers.
- All over the age of 18 in the tribal settlements.
- pilgrims of the Haj.
- Bedridden patients
- Ambulance drivers who have not yet been vaccinated.
- Bank employees (provided that the expenses are covered by the respective banks).
- Medical representatives.
- Air India field officers.
- Judicial officers and staff of the High Court and lower courts.
Click here to read / download the judgment