Nobody can be forced to get Vaccinated: Supreme Court

The order of the top court comes on a plea challenging the vaccine mandate in the country.

Insight Bureau: The Supreme Court on Monday held that no individual can be forced to get jabbed while central government’s current COVID-19 vaccine policy is not unreasonable. The order of the top court comes on a plea challenging the vaccine mandate in the country.

The court also directed the Centre to make public the data on adverse effects of Covid vaccination.

As per a bench of the apex court, “The government can regulate in areas of bodily autonomy on the basis of material, and considering expert views on severe disease, hospital admissions etc, this court is satisfied that current vaccine policy cannot be said to unreasonable… the infringement of bodily integrity and personal autonomy of indivuduals in respect to vaccine we are of the opinion that bodily integrity is protected by Article 21. Individuals cannot be forced to get vaccinated”.

Earlier, the states had defended their vaccine policy saying that it is in the personal interest of people. The state of Tamil Nadu had explained the vaccine mandate in the state said that it satisfies larger public interest and is necessary for the safety of every person.

The government explained its stand on vaccination by saying that it is better to tread with caution and prevent harm to the public. It defended the same by referring to Tamil Nadu Public Health Act, 1939 which gives it the power to come out with such a circular.

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bench comprising Justice L Nageswara Rao and Justice BR Gavai also heard arguments by vaccine manufacturers Serum Institute of India and Bharat Biotech Limited against data disclosure.

Serum Institute of India, the producer and marketer of the Covishield vaccine, had told the court that the necessary data is with the regulator. Bharat Biotech which manufactures Covaxin while denying allegations of non-disclosure of information said that the data relating to the phase III trial has been published.

Notably, the Centre had informed the top court on Monday that all documents related to Covid-19 vaccines and their compositions are available in the public domain, and the vaccine has proved to be very effective and safe.

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