COVID-19: Supreme Court upholds individual’s right against forcible vaccination


Bodily autonomy and integrity are protected under Article 21 of the Constitution, holds Supreme Court

The Supreme Court on Monday upheld both the right of an individual against forcible vaccination and the government’s current vaccination policy to protect communitarian health, but found certain vaccine mandates imposed by State governments/Union Territories, which tend to deny access to basic welfare measures and freedom of movement to unvaccinated individuals, disproportionate.

A Bench led by Justice L. Nageswara Rao said that such vaccine mandates wilted in the face of “emerging scientific opinion” that the risk of transmission of COVID-19 infection from unvaccinated individuals was almost on par with that from vaccinated persons.

‘Set up virtual public platform’

The court directed the Centre to set up a virtual public platform at the earliest to facilitate individuals and private doctors to report adverse vaccine events without compromising their privacy.

“Information related to adverse events is crucial to create awareness about vaccines and their efficiency, apart from contributing to scientific studies about the pandemic… There is a pertinent need for collection of data on adverse events and wider participation,” Justice Rao, who authored the judgment, observed.

Paediatric vaccination policy

The Bench also comprising Justice B.R. Gavai, in a judgment, held that India’s paediatric vaccination policy against the COVID-19 virus was in tune with “global scientific consensus” and the opinions of expert bodies like the World Health Organisation, the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund and the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.

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