‘Thank You Justice Chandrachud’ trends after netizens link PM Modi’s new vaccine policy to scathing criticism from Supreme Court

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In a sensational development, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday announced that his government would provide free vaccines to everyone above the age of 18. In his address to the nation, Modi also said that his government would take back control of vaccination programmes from states adding that it would procure 75 percent of all Covid-19 vaccines and provide them to the states without any cost. No sooner did Modi finish his televised address, netizens began to thank Supreme Court judge Justice DY Chandrachud, who had made scathing observations during one of the hearings on vaccine shortages gripping the country recently.

According to Modi, the remaining 25 percent of vaccines could be procured by private hospitals for those who want to get the jab for a cost.

The announcement by Modi on Monday came in sharp contradiction with his government’s vaccine policy announced in May this year, asking state governments to procure 25 percent of vaccines directly from the manufacturers. The decision had triggered a huge row as opposition leaders slammed the Modi government for shirking its responsibility.

The topic had dominated one of the hearings in the Supreme Court where Justice Chandrachud had angrily told Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, a top government lawyer ‘to wake up and smell the coffee.’ “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,” Justice Chandrachud had said last month.

Twitterati were quick to conclude that the change in the vaccine policy by Modi was due to Justice Chandrachud’s intervention. Soon, ‘Thank you Justice Chandrachud’ became a top trending topic on social media.

Modi, for his part, explained on Monday that his decision to ask states to procure 25 percent of vaccines directly from the manufacturers was taken to avoid criticism that his government ‘was deciding everything’.

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