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Fresh Plea In Bombay High Court Challenges Vaccine Curbs, Seeks To Prosecute CM Uddhav Thackrey

Sharmeen Hakim
14 March 2022 9:45 AM GMT
Fresh Plea In Bombay High Court Challenges Vaccine Curbs, Seeks To Prosecute CM Uddhav Thackrey
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A fresh PIL in the Bombay High Court seeks to quash all vaccine mandates in Maharashtra, including those for local train travel as also the return of fines collected based on "unlawful" compulsions like wearing a mask.The plea further seeks to prosecute the Chief Minister of Maharashtra and other top functionaries of the state bureaucracy for furthering the cause of...

A fresh PIL in the Bombay High Court seeks to quash all vaccine mandates in Maharashtra, including those for local train travel as also the return of fines collected based on "unlawful" compulsions like wearing a mask.

The plea further seeks to prosecute the Chief Minister of Maharashtra and other top functionaries of the state bureaucracy for furthering the cause of vaccine manufacturers. 

The bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice MS Karnik directed the State to respond to the petition filed by Awaken India Movement's (AIM) Feroze Mithiborwalla, by Friday.
On March 2, the Bombay High Court disposed of an earlier PIL by Mithiborewala and activist Yohan Tengra while expressing disappointment at the state's decision to continue the bar on unvaccinated from train travel and visiting other places like malls.
Observing that the vaccine mandate on public transport issued last year, was a gross violation of citizen's fundamental rights under Article 19(1)(d) of the Constitution, the court had granted the petitioners liberty to re-approach the High Court challenging all the latest decisions.
The instant petition seeks to hold that the State Government's fresh SOP dated 1st March, 2022, is unconstitutional.
It further prays that "Any other order/s, circulars, SoP's & notifications, which promote discrimination between vaccinated and unvaccinated and prohibits any citizen to avail any public/private services, benefit, scheme, employment on the basis of vaccination status" be declared illegal and violative of fundamental rights of the citizens mandated under Article 14, 19 & 21 of the Constitution of India, and quash the same.
According to the petition, Section 2 of the Epidemic Act, 1897 and Section 12 & 13 of Disaster Management Act, 2005 makes it mandatory for the State Government to give compensation to every citizen, businessman who has suffered due to lockdown, night curfew or any restriction put by the Government. "Law also mandates the Government to give relief in Installments/EMIS of bank loan if Government applies Disaster Management Act," the plea states. It adds that the state failed to provide the same.
The plea states that according to the Disaster Management Act, 2005 or Epidemic Act 1897 there is no provision for recovery of fine for not wearing a Mask or for not following any directions or guidelines. But State Government illegally collected fine from the citizen.
"From Mumbai the collection was more than 120 Crores. Half of collection was given to private marshals. As per law it is an act of extortion and the fine has to be returned and the concerned officials should face prosecution under extortion charges i.e. Section 384, 385, 409, 120(B), 34 etc. of I.P.C," the plea states.
The other reliefs sought in the PIL are as under.
Direct state authorities to return the fine to all citizen collected by them on the basis of unlawful mandates and to recover the amount of 50% commission given to clean - up marshals by Respondent No. 21 Iqbal Chahal & Respondent No. 22 Suresh Kakani.
To hold that as per the law laid down by Supreme Court in the case of Common Cause Vs. UOI (2018) 5 SCC 1, no one can be compelled to get any treatment or medicine, and no one can be compelled to take the vaccine against their wishes. Therefore vaccination cannot be made mandatory by adopting indirect methods of putting conditions of vaccination certificate for availing certain facilities.
To hold that, as per data available on record, reply given by ICMR and as per Central & State Government's policy decision, it is clear that, there is no proof that vaccinated people are protected and cannot spread infection.
To prosecute Chief Minister of Maharashtra Uddhav Thackarey and others for not considering the status of people with previous infection or having developed antibodies as being immune. That the respondents are causing loss of thousands of crores to the public exchequer and giving wrongful profit of thousands of crores to the vaccine companies and therefore they are liable to be prosecuted under section 409,52, 120(B), 34 etc. of Indian Penal Code and CBI needs to be directed to investigate the case by treating this petition as an FIR as done in the case of Noida Entrepreneurs Association Vs. Noida (2011) 6 SCC 508.
The petition is filed through advocates Snehal Surve and Siddhi Dhamnaskar.
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