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Intimidatory Measures Can't Be Adopted: Manipur High Court Directs State To Not Deny Food-Grains To Non-Vaccinated Beneficiaries Under PMGKAY

LIVELAW NEWS NETWORK
24 Aug 2021 2:00 PM GMT
Intimidatory Measures Cant Be Adopted: Manipur High Court Directs State To Not Deny Food-Grains To Non-Vaccinated Beneficiaries Under PMGKAY
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The Manipur High Court on Monday passed an interim direction asking the State authorities to not deny supply of food-grains to such beneficiaries under the PMGKAY scheme, who are yet to be vaccinated against Covid-19.Senior Advocate Jayna Kothari told a Bench of Chief Justice Sanjay Kumar and Justice Lanusungkum Jamir that as per a public declaration made by the people's representative...

The Manipur High Court on Monday passed an interim direction asking the State authorities to not deny supply of food-grains to such beneficiaries under the PMGKAY scheme, who are yet to be vaccinated against Covid-19.

Senior Advocate Jayna Kothari told a Bench of Chief Justice Sanjay Kumar and Justice Lanusungkum Jamir that as per a public declaration made by the people's representative from Khurai Assembly Constituency, food-grains under the Prime Minister Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY) would not be supplied to those who have not been vaccinated.

Assailing this decision, Kothari asserted that denial of essential food-grains on this basis would be violative of the fundamental rights of those who are yet to get vaccinated, be it for whatever reason.

In this regard, the Bench observed,

We find merit in this submission. It is for the State to suitably educate and inform people so that they voluntarily come forward to take the vaccination. Intimidatory measures cannot be adopted for that purpose and more so, when the same involve supply of food-grains.

The order has been passed in a plea filed by a transgender rights activist and a citizen of Khurai, seeking benefits for marginalized communities in the state.

The Plea, inter alia, sought the Court's interference on issues like: (i) denial of the right to education to children in government and aided schools in the State on account of suspension of physical classes; (ii) priority given to vaccinated persons for opening shops etc.; (iii) distribution of food grains; (iv) extra-legal punishments and penalties for the violators of COVID-19 guidelines including beating, public humiliation by the police and (v) extension of a direct payment scheme to persons possessing any government issued ID cards.

The plea averred that a Scheme for financial assistance called the Chief Minister's COVID-19 Affected Livelihood Support Scheme which provides direct cash transfers of Rs.5000/- to identified families does not include transgender persons, who have been one of the most affected as all their traditional forms of livelihood are taken away due to the lockdowns and curfew.

It also stated that when many other sectors have been opened in a phased manner, it is unfortunate that government and government aided schools are not receiving the priority that they require.

An order dated 30 June 2021, issued by Special Secretary (Home), Government of Manipur to prioritize "opening of institutions, organisations, factories, shops, markets, private offices etc. where its employees and workers are Covid vaccinated. This would also apply to NREGA job card holders and workers of government/private projects" has also been assailed by the petitioner.

Considering the abysmally low number of persons which have been vaccination in the State of Manipur and the problems of significant obstacles in access to vaccines, it is the case of the petitioner that a mandatory vaccination requirement for opening of certain facilities is unjustified.

Case Title: Thangjam Santa Singh v. State of Manipur & Ors

Click Here To Download Order.


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