Tuesday, December 6, 2022

Covid-19: Delhi High Court issues notice to DDMA, DPS on teacher’s plea seeking exemption from vaccine due to rare medical condition

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The Delhi High Court has sought response from the Directorate of Education (DoE), Delhi Government, the District Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) and the Delhi Public School on a teacher’s plea seeking exemption from Covid-19 vaccination as a requisite condition to serve in schools.

The plea filed by a teacher named RS Bhargava argued that he suffers from an auto-immune disease known as Angio Immunoblastic T-cell Lymphoma (involving B-cell) (“AITCL”) and has been advised by doctors that his condition may further be escalated if he takes vaccine for COVID.

A Single-Judge Bench of Justice Yogesh Khanna also issued notice to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, directing them to file their responses by March 8.

The plea, filed through Advocates Tishampati Sen and Riddhi Sancheti, told the court that though DDMA orders made 100 percent vaccination necessary, an exemption was granted to Bhargava considering his medical condition.
However, this exemption was unilaterally withdrawn on 29 October 2021 on the basis of another circular, and soon he was barred from taking even online classes.
The petition stated that this unilateral withdrawal of exemption was totally illegal and against the medical advice.
“As a result of the Orders and the Letter, without any reasonable consideration of the fact that the Petitioner has a medical condition which renders him ineligible for the Covid-19 vaccination, and for which the petitioner has submitted medical opinions from reputable doctors, the Respondent No.4 – private school – at which the Petitioner has been employed and has been teaching for close to 3 decades – has erroneously and unilaterally directed the Petitioner to go “on leave” with reference to the above Impugned DOE Order, and what is worse, it has now gone ahead to penalize the petitioner, by withholding the salary of the Petitioner for the months of December and January, by stating that the petitioner has been “absenting” himself. It is submitted once considering the medical condition of the 
the petitioner an exemption was granted but the act of respondent nos.1 to 3 unilaterally withdrawing of such exemption despite medical condition of the petitioner was totally illegal and against medical advice,” the petition said.

As the Court was told that the petitioner’s salary for the month of December and January has not been given, it directed that the salary be released and asked Bhargava to place his latest medical report as well.

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