Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights (DCPCR) has been constituted as per section 17 of the Commissions for Protection of Child Rights (CPCR) Act, 2005.
As per the clause (1) of section 14 of the Commissions of Protection of Child Rights (CPCR) Act, which describes the powers of the Commission vis-a-vis conducting any inquiry in the matter pertaining to the violation of the rights of children, grants the Commission with all the powers of a civil court trying in suit as per the Civil Procedure Code, 1908.
Further, as per the clause (2) of section 15 of the Commissions of Protection of Child Rights (CPCR) Act, the Commission, post the completion of the enquiry, is empowered to approach the Supreme Court or the High Court concerned for such directions, orders or writs as that Court may deem necessary;
Therefore, pursuant to the aforementioned powers vested in the Commission, the Commission intervenes regularly as and when necessary; some of these are listed below:
Matter(s) before the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India
1. Issue regarding vaccination of Pregnant & Lactating Mothers’
Pregnant women and lactating mothers were excluded from Covid-19 vaccination by the Government of India. The Commission began its inquiry and review of the policy in the first week of May 2021 considering 5.2 crore women fell into the two categories and their enhanced vulnerability to infection and complications.
The Federation of Obstetric and Gynecological Societies of India (FOGSI) concluded that “there is no obvious basis for excluding pregnant or lactating women from vaccination”. Based on researches undertaken by Centre for Disease Control (USA), Joint Action Committee on Vaccination (UK), World Health Organisation (WHO), statement issued FOGSI and consultation with multiple experts, on 12th May 2021, the Commission in exercise of its powers under section 15 of the Commission For Protection of Child Rights Act 2005 advised Government of India to:
- To categorise Pregnant Women and Lactating mothers as high-risk category and be given priority in vaccination;
- To create a registry to register pregnant women and lactating mothers for monitoring to trace & remedy any adverse effect.
Constrained by non-compliance and non-responsiveness of the Government of India, the commission approached the Supreme Court in the exercise of its power to approach the Supreme Court seeking compliance of its recommendation. The Government of India in its letter dated 19.05.2021 has allowed lactating mothers to be vaccinated. However, it is not sufficient.
Mere allowing lactating mothers to be vaccinated without tracking and surveillance systems to trace and remedy adverse events are insufficient. The question of pregnant women remains undecided. Hence, the Commission filed a writ petition. The matter is yet to be taken up by the Supreme Court. Copy of the petition can be accessed here
Our Prayer before the Hon’ble Court.
- Govt has allowed vaccination for lactating mothers but mere vaccinating them is not enough, monitoring and surveillance mechanism post-vaccination is critical to trace adverse events given the nature of potential risk.
- Allow vaccination of pregnant women.
- Classify pregnant women & lactating mothers as high-risk category and prioritise them for vaccination over healthy 18-45 year olds. This can be done by Co-win portal modifying to give higher priority to pregnant women & lactating mothers.
- Wherever practical, separate vaccination centres/sites as these groups are vulnerable and hence must be kept away from normal vaccination centres where hundreds are coming every day.