COVID-19: FUNDAMENTAL RIGHT & VOLUNTARY.

Today we’ll talk about the right to get vaccinated in India.

INTRODUCTION

Since COVID-19 came to India and in the world we had lost so many lives till now, it was one of the most heartbreaking situations we all had faced in our lives. Young generations had suffered their studies, some businesses have suffered and some got shut due to lack of savings or any other reasons. During coronavirus, every individual had gone through a lot irrespective of caste, color, religion, business, age, or profession. 

According to JHU CSSE COVID-19 data, globally confirmed cases of coronavirus are 480,123,509 and 6,121,165 cases deaths.

In India, there have been 43,019,453 confirmed cases, 521,004 deaths, and 824,764,568. In India, those who have been fully vaccinated are approximately 60% of the total population.

Registrar General, High Court of Meghalaya VS. State of Meghalaya.

Registrar General, High Court of Meghalaya VS. State of Meghalaya, in this case, the deputy commissioner of Meghalaya passed an order or notification stating that whoever wants to resume their livelihood, such as businessmen, local taxi drivers, local vendors, shopkeepers have to mandatorily get themselves vaccinated before resuming their livelihood or source of income.

In other words, it meant that they could not restart or come back if they are not vaccinated. Though vaccination was a concern of public health at large and also individual fundamental rights cannot be violated.

Can a State Government or its authority issue any notification or order which is likely to have a direct effect on the fundamental rights of its citizens, especially on a subject matter that concerns both public health and the fundamental rights of the individual person.

On this, the high court of Meghalaya said the order passed stating the condition for resuming their profession or occupation or livelihood is against Article 21 of the Indian Constitution.

Article 21 of the Indian Constitution

Article 21 of the Indian Constitution provides that,

“No person shall be deprived of his life or liberty except according to procedure established by law”

Before the Maneka Gandhi case, personal liberty words came up for consideration for the first time in the case A.K Gopalan VS. Union of India.

Connecting Article 21 with mandatory vaccination,

The court said, the right to life is also the right to livelihood. Due to the coronavirus pandemic vaccination has become one of the important necessities but the state through passing such an order through district administration cannot force an individual for vaccination.

The high court of Meghalaya referred to an old case Olga Tellis VS. Bombay municipal corporation (1986). This case is also known as the pavement dwellers case. In this case, the court stated that an “equally important facet of that right is the right to livelihood because no person can live with any livelihood. If the right to livelihood is not treated as a part of the constitutional right to life, then it would become the easiest way to deprive a person from his right to livelihood. Since Article 39(a) and Article 41 require the state to secure the citizen an adequate means of livelihood and right to work, it would be sheer pendentary to exclude the right to livelihood from the content of the right to life.”

Further, it was stated by the high court of Meghalaya that, in the “frequently asked questions” (FAQs) on the COVID-19 vaccine prepared and uploaded by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India, on its official website, the serial number three question says, “Is it mandatory to take the vaccine?” The “potential response”, which is provided on the official website says, “Vaccination for COVID-19 is voluntary.”  However, it is advisable to receive the complete schedule of COVID-19 vaccine for protecting oneself against this disease and also to limit the spread of this disease to close contacts including family members, friends, relatives, and co-workers.”

Article 19(6) of the Indian Constitution, prescribes reasonable restrictions in the interest of the general public on which the court stated, that vaccination won’t be considered a reasonable restriction.

Guidelines are given by the High Court of Meghalaya

The Court added that instead of using coercive methods the state shall ask the vendors, taxi drivers, businesses, or whosoever wants to resume their profession should place a sign on their workplace, and let the citizens or the customers or users decide whether they want the services from the vaccinated person or not vaccinated person. After practicing this sign method technique, they (the people who are hesitating to get vaccination) might change their mind or not hesitate anymore to get vaccinated.

When the customers will start to make their choice against the non-vaccinated people in society they might persuade to get the vaccination. They might get to know the importance and advantages of vaccination.

Countries that have mandatory vaccination

Countries like France, Italy, Germany, Belgium, Malta, and Polland have made compulsory vaccination for COVID-19.

Conclusion

Overall, in my opinion, while passing any order under being the authoritative state, the state shall also protect the individual fundamental rights which has been provided to every citizen. Also, those fundamental rights cant be infringed by any individual or any authority. Keeping that in mind, the high court of Meghalaya said to initiate persuasive methods for covid-19 vaccination rather than the coercive method which forces an individual to get the vaccination.

Also, The High Court of Meghalaya has quoted and relied upon many old western judgments such as Olga Tellis VS. Bombay municipal corporation (1986), Schloedroff VS. Society of New York Hospitals (1914) Airedale NHS Trust v Bland (1993).

Also as responsible citizens, we must know the importance of getting a vaccination and why the state is an endeavor for their citizen’s welfare in these matters. At the same time, the state shall adopt a persuasive nature and make people aware benefits of vaccination.

Reference:

https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/region/india

https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/

https://www.barandbench.com/apprentice-lawyer/compulsory-vaccination-for-covid-19-in-india-a-legal-possibility-or-a-violation-of-fundamental-rights

Aishwarya Says:

I have always been against Glorifying Over Work and therefore, in the year 2021, I have decided to launch this campaign “Balancing Life”and talk about this wrong practice, that we have been following since last few years. I will be talking to and interviewing around 1 lakh people in the coming 2021 and publish their interview regarding their opinion on glamourising Over Work.

IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN PARTICIPATING IN THE SAME, DO LET ME KNOW.

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The copyright of this Article belongs exclusively to Ms. Aishwarya Sandeep. Reproduction of the same, without permission will amount to Copyright Infringement. Appropriate Legal Action under the Indian Laws will be taken.

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In the year 2021, we wrote about 1000 Inspirational Women In India, in the year 2022, we would be featuring 5000 Start Up Stories.


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