Updated: November 18, 2021 7:55:13 am
The Delhi High Court Wednesday refused to grant any interim order in favour of a government school lecturer, who has challenged the Delhi education department’s mandatory directive that requires school staff and teachers to get vaccinated against Covid. Teachers who haven’t been vaccinated are being treated as ‘on leave’, as per a government order passed in September.
“Ultimately you are putting everyone’s health at peril. Unless you have a special medical problem, where is the question of being exempted?” Justice Rekha Palli said, while declining the prayer for interim relief.
The court issued notice to the government, the Directorate of Education and the Delhi Disaster Management Authority on petition filed by the school teacher, and asked to file a response in four weeks. It recorded the teacher’s statement that, without prejudice to her rights and contentions, she is willing to get vaccinated. “It is made clear that merely because the petitioner is now willing to undergo vaccination, the same will not be seen as this court having condoned her prior default in not getting herself vaccinated,” said Justice Palli.
The school lecturer had submitted that such a decision is contrary to the central government guidelines on administration of vaccines and also violative of Article 14 of the Constitution as it discriminates between the vaccinated and unvaccinated.
She had also argued that such an order is arbitrary as the decision fails to consider the “scientific studies and authoritative public health sources which show that the immunity that results from natural infection is strong and enduring”. Her recent antibodies test showed an antibody level of 427.10, said the petition.
“In the absence of any legal framework, the impugned orders or the issuing authorities have not clarified who will be accountable for any adverse impact after immunisation, if any, on the petitioner,” her petition states, adding there are serious questions about transparency of data of clinical trials.
Senior advocate Sanjoy Ghose, representing the school teacher, submitted that though he has personally got the vaccine, the right of every citizen to choose has to be defended. “I don’t want to subject my body to any external substance. The government is also saying that the whole process is voluntary,” contended Ghose on behalf of the teacher, adding that the government order has to make sense.
However, Justice Palli observed that a lot of people contracting Covid are getting milder symptoms owing to the vaccines. “It is making some sense to me, maybe not to you. It makes full sense to a lot of people in public. Today if we are coming out of the situation, it is because of vaccination,” added the bench.
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