No one can be forced to get vaccinated: SC orders all the authorities to review restrictions.
The Supreme Court held that No one can be forced to take the vaccine, on Monday, in a landmark decision on India’s COVID vaccine policy, by pointing to the provision of Article 21 of the constitution, under which the bodily integrity is also protected, also directed the central government to publish the reports on the adverse effect of the vaccination. Supreme Court said that “Bodily integrity is protected under law and nobody can be forced to be vaccinated”, However, certain limitations can be imposed in the interest of the community health but this restriction requires legality, legitimate need and the proportionality laid down by the Supreme Court in the judgement of the renowned case of Puttaswamy. The bench of Justice L Nageshwar Rao and B R Gavai said, seeking review of the vaccine mandates, on a PIL: “Till the infection rate remains low and any new development or research findings emerges which provides due justification to impose reasonable and proportionate restrictions on the rights of unvaccinated individuals, we suggest that all authorities in this country, including private organization and educational institutions, review the relevant orders and instructions imposing restrictions on unvaccinated persons in terms of access to public places, services and resources, if not recalled”. The states of Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh had submitted that the decision to show vaccination proof fulfils the test of the proportionality and is meant to create more awareness about the vaccination. The court directed the government to set up a virtual platform to provide individuals and private doctors to report adverse vaccine events without comprising their privacy. Justice Rao observed that “Information related to adverse events is crucial to create awareness about vaccines and their efficiency, apart from contributing to scientific studies about the pandemic. There is a pertinent need for the collection of data on adverse events and wider participation”. And the bench by approving the vaccination policy for children and said, “We recognize that the decision taken by the Union of India to vaccinate children in this country is in tune with global scientific census and it is beyond the scope of review for this court to second guess expert opinion based on which the government has drawn up its policy. Keeping in view the WHO’s statement on clinical trial and extant statutory regime, we direct the Union of India to ensure that key findings and results of the relevant phases of the clinical trial of vaccines are already approved by the regulatory authorities for the administration to children be made public at the earliest if not already done.” The union government informed the apex court on Monday that, all the documents related to Covid-19 vaccines and their compositions are available in the public domain, and the vaccine has proved to be very effective and safe. According to the latest report of the Union Health Ministry data, the number of active COVID cases rose by approx 408 in 24 hours to reach 19,500 on Monday. The court has approved the policy of the Union Government on COVID-19 vaccination policy is reasonable based on the substantial material provided before the court reflecting the nearly unanimous views of the expert on the benefits of vaccination in addressing the severe diseases from the infection, reduction in oxygen requirement, hospitals and ICU admissions, mortality and stopping the new variant from emerging.
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