EXTRACTS FROM THE JUDGEMENT OF THE INDIA SUPREME COURT CANCELLING MASKS AND VACCINE MANDATES FOR COVID-19. DELIVERED MAY 2, 2022. FULL DOCUMENT AT
Petition in public interest seeking the following reliefs:
(d) Direct the respondents to disclose the post vaccination data regarding adverse events, vaccinees who got infected with Covid, those who needed hospitalization and those who died after such infection post vaccination and direct the respondents to widely publicize the data collection of such adverse event through the advertisement of toll free telephone numbers where such complaints can be registered; and
(e) Declare that vaccine mandates, in any manner whatsoever, even by way of making it a precondition for accessing any benefits or services, is a violation of rights of citizens and unconstitutional; and
(f) Pass any other orders as this Hon'ble Court deems fit.”
4. The Petitioner filed an Interlocutory Application seeking a direction to restrain all authorities and institutions, public and private, from mandating the vaccine in any manner whatsoever, on a precondition of accessing any service or on pain of any penalty. The Petitioner has drawn the attention of this Court to various restrictions that were placed by State Governments, other employers and educational institutions on unvaccinated individuals. The Petitioner contended that mandating vaccination for access to resources, public places and means of earning livelihood would be in violation of their fundamental rights, especially so, when scientific studies have shown that unvaccinated persons do not pose more danger of transmission of the virus when compared to vaccinated persons.
(v) However, no data has been placed by the Union of India or the States appearing before us, controverting the material placed by the Petitioner in the form of emerging scientific opinion which appears to indicate that the risk of transmission of the virus from unvaccinated individuals is almost on par with that from vaccinated persons. IN LIGHT OF THIS, RESTRICTIONS ON UNVACCINATED INDIVIDUALS IMPOSED THROUGH VARIOUS VACCINE MANDATES BY STATE GOVERNMENTS / UNION TERRITORIES CANNOT BE SAID TO BE PROPORTIONATE. TILL THE INFECTION RATE REMAINS LOW AND ANY NEW DEVELOPMENT OR RESEARCH FINDING EMERGES WHICH PROVIDES DUE JUSTIFICATION TO IMPOSE REASONABLE AND PROPORTIONATE RESTRICTIONS ON THE RIGHTS OF UNVACCINATED INDIVIDUALS, WE SUGGEST THAT ALL AUTHORITIES IN THIS COUNTRY, INCLUDING PRIVATE ORGANISATIONS AND EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS, REVIEW THE RELEVANT ORDERS AND INSTRUCTIONS IMPOSING RESTRICTIONS ON UNVACCINATED INDIVIDUALS IN TERMS OF ACCESS TO PUBLIC PLACES, SERVICES AND RESOURCES, IF NOT ALREADY RECALLED. It is clarified that in the context of the rapidly-evolving situation presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, our suggestion to review the vaccine mandates imposed by States / Union Territories, is limited to the present situation alone and is not to be construed as interfering with the lawful exercise of power by the executive to take suitable measures for prevention of infection and transmission of the virus. Our suggestion also does not extend to any other directions requiring maintenance of COVID-appropriate behaviour issued by the Union or the State Governments (Page 111, EMPHASIS ADDED)
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