The Centre has told the Supreme Court that it has not issued any Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for persons with disabilities to carry Covid-19 vaccination certificates for any purpose.
The Centre, in an affidavit, said: "Vaccination for Covid-19 is of larger public interest in view of the ongoing pandemic situation... However, no person can be forced to be vaccinated against their wishes."
It further added that the government has not issued any SOPs, which require persons with disabilities to carry vaccination certificates mandatory for any purpose.
The Centre's response came on a plea by an NGO Evara Foundation seeking door-to-door, priority Covid-19 vaccination for persons with disabilities. The Centre emphasised that the directions and guidelines by the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, do not envisage any forcible vaccination without obtaining consent of the concerned individual.
The government reiterated its stand on the use of face masks or face covers, and added the Har Ghar Dastak Abhiyan policy, door-to-door vaccination of eligible beneficiaries, which includes persons with disabilities, will increase its reach further.
The plea had contended that persons with disabilities are at a greater risk of contracting Covid-19 due to difficulties faced by them.
On the accessibility of the Co-WIN app and portal, the Centre said: "The government of India is already implementing features on the Co-WIN portal to make it more accessible to persons with disabilities."
The Centre added that persons with disabilities not having ID cards are also eligible for vaccination since the Co-WIN website provides the facility for creation of special vaccination sessions for this purpose.
The top court will hear the petition later in the day. The Centre also informed the top court that 23,678 doses have been administered to the disabled persons.