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May 3, 2022

SC: No one can be forced to get vaccinated, the government’s vaccine policy is not arbitrary

by CA Shivam Jaiswal in Legal Court Judgement

SC: No one can be forced to get vaccinated, the government’s vaccine policy is not arbitrary

The Supreme Court ruled that no one can be forced to get vaccinated, and that the government’s current Covid-19 immunization program is not arbitrary. The restrictions imposed on unvaccinated people by various organizations, institutions, and governments are not proportional, according to a bench led by Justices L. Nageswara Rao and B.R. Gavai. The bench suggested till numbers are low, state governments must remove such restrictions.

Because bodily autonomy/bodily integrity is a constitutional right, no one can be forced to get vaccinated, according to the court. It further stated that the government’s existing Covid-19 policy is not arbitrary. The Supreme Court also ordered the Centre to make statistics on Covid-19 vaccine side effects public. The Supreme Court stated that the governments had not presented any evidence that unvaccinated persons transmit the virus more than vaccinated people, and that unvaccinated people should not be denied entrance to public venues. The whole verdict will be available later.

The Supreme Court issued its decision in response to a petition filed by Jacob Puliyel, a former member of the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunization, seeking clinical trial data and adverse effects of Covid vaccines, as well as challenging vaccine mandates imposed by some state governments. Prashant Bhushan, an advocate, represented Puliyel.

During the hearing, the Centre told the Supreme Court that approximately 180 crore doses of Covid-19 vaccinations had been provided as of March 13 and that “adverse occurrences,” which were reported on a regular basis, totaled 77,314 as of March 12, accounting for 0.004% of the total immunisation. The Centre emphasised that no one can demand segregated clinical data under the guise of bringing a public interest litigation.

The Centre’s submissions were given by Solicitor General Tushar Mehta and Additional Solicitor General Aishwarya Bhati. Covaxin has undergone all relevant clinical trials, according to Bharat Biotech International Ltd, which is represented by counsel Vipin Nair, and phase 3 efficacy testing proved it is 77.8% effective against Covid. The vaccine maker claims that the results of clinical trials have been widely published in reputable peer-reviewed publications and on its website.

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