Supreme Court reserves order on plea challenging coercive COVID-19 vaccination

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New Delhi: The Supreme Court reserved its order in a plea seeking disclosure of clinical trial data of COVID-19 vaccines and a declaration that making vaccination mandatory is unconstitutional.

While hearing the matter on Tuesday, a Bench of Justice L Nageswara Rao and Justice BR Gavai concluded the hearing in the plea after hearing the States, Central government and petitioner’s counsel, advocate Prashant Bhushan, Bar and Bench reported.

When the petitioner argued that vaccine should not be mandatory, Justice Rao noted the large number of deaths that occurred in the country owing to COVID-19.

“5 lakh deaths have occurred, is this not a lethal disease? It might not be like small pox but so many people have died,” he said.

According to the report, the petition was filed by Dr Jacob Puliyel, who is former member of the National Technical Advisory Group. It prayed for declaration that mandating vaccination for COVID-19, 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.

It further alleged that COVID-19 vaccines, which are currently being administered, have not been adequately tested for safety or efficacy are now licensed under emergency use authorisation without the data being disclosed to the public.

“In India, the manner in which the vaccines have been licensed vitiates and even precludes the possibility that the vaccines can be evaluated objectively in the future,” the petition stated.

first published:March 23, 2022, 1:46 a.m.

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