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Breaking- Classification Between Vaccinated And Unvaccinated Persons For Issuance Of Temporary Permits For Developmental Works Violates Art. 14, 19 & 21: Gauhati High Court

Nupur Thapliyal
20 July 2021 4:15 AM GMT
Breaking- Classification Between Vaccinated And Unvaccinated Persons For Issuance Of Temporary Permits For Developmental Works Violates Art. 14, 19 & 21: Gauhati High Court
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The Gauhati High Court, Itanagar Bench on Monday held that the classification between vaccinated and unvaccinated persons for issuance of temporary permits for developmental works in both public and private sector in the State of Arunachal Pradesh violates Art. 14, 19 (1) (d) & 21. A single judge bench comprising of Justice Nani Tagia stayed the operation of an order issued by the...

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The Gauhati High Court, Itanagar Bench on Monday held that the classification between vaccinated and unvaccinated persons for issuance of temporary permits for developmental works in both public and private sector in the State of Arunachal Pradesh violates Art. 14, 19 (1) (d) & 21.

A single judge bench comprising of Justice Nani Tagia stayed the operation of an order issued by the Government of Arunachal Pradesh stating that temporary permits for developmental works in both public and private sector in the State may be issued on a condition that such persons are vaccinated for Covid-19.

While issuing notice in the plea, the Court granted an interim relief after observing thus:

"It prima facie appears to this Court that Clause 11 of the Order dated 30.06.2021.. in so far it makes a classification of persons who are Covid-19 vaccinated and persons who are Covid-19 unvaccinated for the purpose of issuance of temporary permits for developmental works in both public and private sector in the State of Arunachal Pradesh violates Articles 14, 19 (1) (d) & 21 of the Constitution of India calling for an interim order in the case."

Furthermore, it said:

"The Order in so far it discriminates between Covid-19 vaccinated persons and Covid-19 unvaccinated persons for issuance of temporary permits for developmental works in both public and private sector in the State of Arunachal Pradesh, shall remain stayed."

The Court was dealing with a PIL wherein the petitioner had argued that as per the RTI information furnished by the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Covid-19 vaccination is not a mandatory but a voluntary.

Stating so, it was submitted that the impugned clause allowing temporary permits to be issued for developmental works in both public and private sector to only those persons who are vaccinated for Covid-19, interferes with the rights of the citizens provided under Article 19 (1) (d) of the Constitution of India to move freely throughout the territory of India.

On the other hand, it was submitted on behalf of the State Government that the restrictions provided under clause 11 of the Order was due to the rising covid cases in the State and thus, fell into the category of 'reasonable restrictions' issued with the objective of containing the spread of virus.

Analyzing the impugned clause for considering the prayer of interim relief, the Court was of the view that there is no evidence available either in the record or in the public domain that Covid-19 vaccinated persons cannot be infected with Covid-19 virus, or he/she cannot be a carrier of a Covid-19 virus and consequently, a spreader of Covid-19 virus.

"In so far as the spread of Covid 19 Virus to others is concerned, the Covid-19 vaccinated and unvaccinated person or persons are the same. Both can equally be a potential spreader if they are infected with Covid-19 Virus in them." the Court said at the outset.
"Thus, if the sole object of issuing the Order is for containment of the Covid-19 pandemic and its further spread in the State of Arunachal Pradesh, the classification sought to be made between vaccinated and unvaccinated persons for Covid-19 virus for the purpose of issuing temporary permits for developmental works in both public and private sector, vide Clause 11 thereof, prima facie, appears to be a classification not founded on intelligible differentia nor it is found to have a rational relation/nexus to the object sought to be achieved by such classification, namely, containment and further spread of Covid-19 pandemic." The Court said.

While making the said observations and granting interim relief by staying the operation of impugned clause, the Court issued notice in the matter returnable on 28th July.

Title: Madan Mili v. UNION OF INDIA and 2 ors

Click Here To Read Order

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