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COVID- Plea Before Bombay High Court Challenges State's Decision To Allow Only Fully-Vaccinated Persons To Use Local Trains

Sharmeen Hakim
29 Aug 2021 6:10 AM GMT
COVID- Plea Before Bombay High Court Challenges States Decision To Allow Only Fully-Vaccinated Persons To Use Local Trains
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A petition has been filed before the Bombay High Court challenging the Maharashtra Government's decision to permit only 'fully vaccinated persons against Covid-19' to use local trains and visit malls and workplaces. The pleas seek all people within the Mumbai Metropolitan Region be allowed to use trains, irrespective of their vaccination status. The SOP issued on August 10 and 11 by...

A petition has been filed before the Bombay High Court challenging the Maharashtra Government's decision to permit only 'fully vaccinated persons against Covid-19' to use local trains and visit malls and workplaces.

The pleas seek all people within the Mumbai Metropolitan Region be allowed to use trains, irrespective of their vaccination status.

The SOP issued on August 10 and 11 by the Under Secretary and Chief Secretary prohibits people who haven't taken both doses of the Covid-19 vaccine to travel by the local train and made it mandatory for shops, offices, and other establishments to ensure their staff is vaccinated, from August 15.

These Circulars are alleged to discriminate against those who haven't taken the vaccine and are thus violative of Article 14 (equality ), 19 (freedom of speech and expression) and 21 (right to life) of the Constitution.

The plea filed by Activist Feroze Mithiborwala further avers that vaccination is completely voluntary according to the Centre's answer as given  in Lok Sabha on 19th March 2021 –

"There is no provision of compensation for recipients of Covid-19 vaccine against any kind of side effects or medical complications that may rise due to inoculation. The Covid-19 vaccination is entirely voluntary for the beneficiary". 

In this background, it is submitted that "any direct or indirect method to coerce the citizens to get vaccinated is not only illegal but violative of fundamental rights…"

"The action of the respondents in forcing people to be vaccinated is not confirming to the constitutional mandate, moreover when the Government is not taking responsibility or compensation on account of side effects of the vaccine," the plea states.

Reliance has been placed on various High Court Judgments from states like Guwahati, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh & Nagaland, which have ruled that vaccination cannot be made mandatory as a condition to accessing jobs, travel, educational institutions, public places.

The plea adds that prior to the Covid-19 crisis, the Delhi and Kerala High Court have both ruled that vaccines cannot be made mandatory. Moreover, a person has a fundamental right to choose medication as per his choice, states the petition.

The State of Maharashtra, in issuing such SOP has also violated the provisions of Article 253 and 256 of the Constitution of India, submits the petition.

The impugned circulars, the petition states, have failed to account for those who have developed anti-bodies after testing positive for Covid, adding that, there is scientific evidence to show the development of naturally acquired immunity after being exposed to the virus was far superior to vaccine-derived immunity.

Mithiborwala's has also sought that appropriate action be taken against the Officers of the State of Maharashtra as per the provisions mentioned under the National Disaster Management Act as well as IPC for acting in utter disregard of the Centre's directions on 'no forceful vaccination'.

A similar plea has also been filed before the High Court by Yohan Tengra, who is a member of the 'Awaken India Movement.'

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