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Kerala High Court To Decide Validity Of GO Requiring Unvaccinated Persons To Produce Negative RT-PCR Report To Enter Establishments

Hannah M Varghese
1 Sep 2021 11:45 AM GMT
Kerala High Court To Decide Validity Of GO Requiring Unvaccinated Persons To Produce Negative RT-PCR Report To Enter Establishments
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The Kerala High Court on Wednesday reserved its orders in a matter which challenged the Government Order mandating vaccination certificate or RT-PCR negative results to visit shops and other establishments in the State.Justice PB Suresh Kumar was hearing a petition moved by an employee of the Kerala Tourism Development Corporation (KTDC), who was unwilling to get vaccinated...

The Kerala High Court on Wednesday reserved its orders in a matter which challenged the Government Order mandating vaccination certificate or RT-PCR negative results to visit shops and other establishments in the State.

Justice PB Suresh Kumar was hearing a petition moved by an employee of the Kerala Tourism Development Corporation (KTDC), who was unwilling to get vaccinated against Covid-19.

Advocate Ajit Joy appearing for the petitioner argued that taking the vaccine is purely voluntarily, and that no law in the country mandates taking the vaccine.

It was also submitted that the petitioner is entitled to make a choice to not take a vaccine and that he is willing to bear the consequence of the same. However, it was argued that such consequences cannot be arbitrary and that his livelihood cannot be compromised. 

The petitioner also argued that clause (vi) of the Order is manifestly arbitrary. All along the petitioner was free to work but with the implementation of the said clause, it has become compulsory to produce a negative RT-PCR certificate to be allowed to work.

The Court asked if there was any premise on why the petitioner took the stand to not get vaccinated. The Bench pointed out that there were petitions seeking earlier administration and even a third dose amidst the surge in the pandemic.

Responding to this, the petitioner replied that he doubted the efficacy of the vaccine since even the vaccinated persons were getting infected and even dying.

 "I am no different from a fully vaccinated person. A recent study revealed that 25% of fully vaccinated people have been infected with the virus. Even after two doses, you have to wear a mask and follow the social distancing. The protocol is the same for the vaccinated and the unvaccinated. Why should I be restricted then?" 

To this, the Court responded that it is the duty of the government to protect others who are prone to infection. "How can you find fault with the decision of the State to protect others?" 

The petitioner argued that the State is still not convinced that the vaccines are efficient which is why they have made it voluntary instead of making a law mandating full vaccination. 

The Court then inquired if the right not to be vaccinated will come under the ambit of Article 21 of the Constitution. The petitioner submitted that it will come under the right to privacy, which is a facet of Article 21, the right to life. 

The Bench then reserved its order in the matter. 

This is the second petition filed seeking the Government Order to be set aside. In a recent proceeding, a man had approached the court alleging that the recent Government Order virtually puts unvaccinated persons under house arrest. However, this Bench had observed that unvaccinated persons may move out of their residences for essential activities as per the impugned Government Order.

Case Title: Lalu V v. State of Kerala

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