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Can Employers Force Their Employees To Undergo Covid-19 Vaccination?: Delhi High Court Issues Notice On School Teacher's Plea

Akshita Saxena
17 Nov 2021 8:24 AM GMT
Can Employers Force Their Employees To Undergo Covid-19 Vaccination?: Delhi High Court Issues Notice On School Teachers Plea
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The Delhi High Court today issued notice on a school lecturer's plea, challenging a circular issued by her employer making Covid-19 vaccination mandatory for rendering services.Justice Rekha Palli has clubbed the matter with another petition filed by a teacher working in a private aided school, challenging the decision of Delhi Government not to permit teachers and staff working in the...

The Delhi High Court today issued notice on a school lecturer's plea, challenging a circular issued by her employer making Covid-19 vaccination mandatory for rendering services.

Justice Rekha Palli has clubbed the matter with another petition filed by a teacher working in a private aided school, challenging the decision of Delhi Government not to permit teachers and staff working in the city schools to attend the schools in case they fail to get themselves vaccinated by October 15.

In the instant case, the circular issued by Government Girls Senior Secondary School, Gautampuri is challenged inasmuch as it states that such teachers and other staff who are not vaccinated as on October 15, 2021, will be treated to be on leave.

The Petitioner herein, who was appointed as a history teacher at the respondent school in August 2019, has not undergone vaccination till date. She fears that vaccination may have unforeseen effects on her body and thus, is unwilling to subject her body to any "external substances".

Asserting her right to choice before the High Court, she argued that there is no scientific data which suggests that vaccination prevents transmission of the virus. She further submitted that she is willing to undertake all the precautions, as prescribed by government and health authorities, to prevent the infection. She added that she has done extensive research on the subject and is willing to bring the same on Court's record.

The Respondents on the other hand argued that by not getting vaccinated, Petitioner can't be permitted to put the lives of students at risk. It was highlighted that the Petitioner is not suffering from any comorbidities and hence, there is no reasonable explanation as to why she is unwilling to take the jab.

"Vaccination is absolutely voluntary. It is not a crime to not get vaccinated. Let them (Government) take a stand they will take responsibility of the short and long term effects of the vaccine," Senior Advocate Sanjay Ghose appearing for the Petitioner contended.

To this, Advocate Siddharth Krishna Dwivedi appearing for the Government responded, "The entire country is getting vaccinated. Union cannot take such a stand."

As the Bench expressed disinclination to grant any interim relief in the matter, the Petitioner undertook to forthwith undergo vaccination, without prejudice to her rights and contentions in the petition.

Accordingly, the Respondents have been directed to file their counter-affidavit in the matter within 4 weeks. Rejoinder, if any, may be filed within two weeks.

The matter is listed for hearing on February 3, 2022.

Meanwhile, the Court has made it clear that because the Petitioner is now willing to undergo vaccination, the same will not condone her prior default in not getting herself vaccinated by October 15, in terms of the impugned circular.

Case Title: Isha v. State

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