“Please wake up and smell the coffee”: Justice Chandrachud makes scathing observations to question Modi government on vaccine policy


The Supreme Court on Monday made scathing observations while questioning the Narendra Modi government for its vaccine policy and the mandatory registration in the CO-WIN App to secure a slot for vaccination. Justice DY Chandrachud in particular appeared lashed out at the government as he sought to remind the latter about the existing digital divide, particularly in rural areas.

He told Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, “You keep saying that situation is dynamic, but you have to keep your ears on the ground. You keep saying digital India, digital India, but you are not aware of the ground realities. A poor worker from Jharkhand has to go all the way to a common center?”

He added, “You can certainly have registration, but how will you answer the digital divide? How do you answer the question about migrant labourers who have to go from one State to another?”

Responding to Mehta’s clarification, Justice Chandrachud said, “We are not changing the policy. We are asking you to please wake up and smell the coffee and see what’s happening across the country.”

A Supreme Court Bench comprising Justices DY Chandrachud, L Nageswara Rao and S Ravindra Bhat is hearing the suo moto case related to COVID issues. The central government in its affidavit had said that online registration was necessary to track the number of doses and types of vaccines being administered to individuals.

Justice Chandrachud said, “We are not framing policy. There’s an order of 30th April that these are the problems. You will be flexible. You can’t just say that you’re the Centre and you know what’s right. We have a strong arm to come down on this.”

The central government has come under severe criticism for its questionable vaccine policy. More recently, it was criticised after it emerged that private hotels were being allowed to vaccinate people for a higher fee even when ordinary citizen struggled to get a slot.