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No one can be forced to get vaccinated: Supreme Court on Covid-19 vaccine mandates

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The Supreme Court today said that no person can be forced to get vaccinated as right to bodily integrity is guaranteed to an individual under Article 21 of the Constitution. The choice to be vaccinated or not solely lies at discern of an individual.

The matter was tabled before the bench comprising Justices L. Nageswara Rao and Justice B.R. Gavai, who pronounced the judgment on a PIL filed by Dr Jacob Puliyel, challenging the vaccine mandates and seeking publication of the clinical trial and adverse events of vaccination.

The court while listening to the matter said that the vaccine mandates that different states have imposed on the people in respect to the Covid- 19 pandemic are not proportionate. The Court also agreed that no substantial data has been provided to the court that testifies the risk of Covid-19 transmission is higher in the individuals who are unvaccinated against the vaccinated persons.

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The Court apprised that the Government can impose strict mandates for the public health but it should meet the criterion of legality, legitimate need and proportionality as laid down by the Supreme Court in the Puttaswamy judgment.

The Court acknowledged that Union Governments policy on COVID-19 vaccination policy is reasonable. Court also informed that the clinical data about vaccine was published as per the official norms.

The Bench also mentioned that the information, material and substantial data provided by the Union Government does not support the conclusion that emergency use approval has been granted in haste. It was well thought, discussed  and researched before the approval.

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Talking about the vaccination for kids, Supreme Court told that vaccination for kids has an International backing . The opinion of Global Health Experts also recommend that the pediatric vaccine is in tune with international standards.

The Court however directed the central Government to make sure that the key findings of the stages of trial already approved for children should be made public at the earliest for the larger interest of people.

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