In a landmark ruling pertaining to the inoculation drive in the country, the Supreme Court said no individual can be forced to take any vaccination, however, allowed the government to impose restrictions in the interest of the community.
A bench of Justices L Nageswara Rao and B R Gavai delivered the judgement. A plea was moved in the top court to challenge the mandatory Covid-19 vaccine mandates as unconstitutional. The bench said, “Considering bodily autonomy, bodily integrity is protected under article 21. No one can be forced to get vaccinated. (But) the government can regulate in areas of bodily autonomy.”
BREAKING: #VaccineMandate case#SupremeCourt holds:— Bar & Bench (@barandbench) May 2, 2022
1. No one can be forced to be vaccinated
2. Centre directed to publish adverse effects of vaccination
3. Current COVID vaccine policy NOT unreasonable or arbitrary
4. Cannot second guess scientific or expert opinion https://t.co/nIBiidF6Ag
The apex court said the condition imposed by some state governments in restricting access of unvaccinated people to public places, despite the low number of cases, is arbitrary and should be recalled in the present conditions. The apex court added the right to bodily integrity of a person under Article 21 of the Constitution including the right to refuse vaccination.
“As long as Covid numbers are low, no restriction should be placed on individuals from accessing public areas and the same should be recalled if such restrictions are in place,” the bench ruled.
The court maintained that the policy of the Central government on Covid-19 vaccination policy is reasonable. The top court's landmark judgement comes at a time when the country is once again witnessing a surge in Covid-19 cases. According to Union Health Ministry data, India reported a single-day rise of 3,157 infections and 26 fatalities on Monday while the positivity rate went past one percent again after a gap of over two months.