The Meghalaya High Court Thursday held that forced vaccination violates fundamental rights as mandated under Article 19(1)(g) of the Indian Constitution, Bar and Bench reported.
The court observed that forcing shopkeepers, taxi drivers etc. to get vaccinated as a condition for resuming their business or profession “vitiates the very fundamental purpose of the welfare attached to it.”
“However, vaccination by force or being made mandatory by adopting coercive methods, vitiates the very fundamental purpose of the welfare attached to it. It impinges on the fundamental right(s) as such, especially when it affects the right to means of livelihood which makes it possible for a person to live,” Bar and Bench quoted the HC judgment.
Meanwhile, the bench of Chief Justice Biswanath Somadder and Justice HS Thangkhiew, also noted that vaccination was the need of the hour and a necessary measure to curb the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic.
It, however, stressed that the state government cannot take any action that would violate the fundamental right to livelihood enshrined under Article 19(1) of the Constitution.
The high court further observed that it was the responsibility of the state to disseminate and sensitise the citizens of the entire exercise of vaccination with its pros and cons. It added that the burden also lies upon the state government to stop the spread of misinformation regarding the vaccination exercise.
Meanwhile, in an order on Wednesday, the Meghalaya High Court asked all shops, business houses and commercial vehicles in the state to put on display the Covid-19 vaccination status of their employees at a “conspicuous” place to allow people make a conscious decision before using their services.
The court, which filed a suo moto PIL in the interest of common people, also warned of stern action against anyone involved in spreading misinformation on the vaccination drive.
A division bench of the high court, headed by Chief Justice Biswanath Somadder, said in its order, “At the outset, it must be stated clearly and unequivocally that vaccination is need of the hour – nay, an absolute necessity – in order to overcome this global pandemic which is engulfing our world.”
It directed shops and business establishments to display “vaccinated” prominently at a conspicuous place only if the employees have taken the jab.
Similarly, in the case of local taxis, auto-rickshaws, cabs and buses, the court asked the owner to put up a sign with the vaccination status of drivers, conductors or helpers.
The suo moto PIL was filed after authorities in several areas asked shopkeepers, vendors, taxi drivers and others to get themselves vaccinated before resuming business.
In another similar case, the Gujarat High Court Wednesday granted temporary relief to a corporal with the Indian Air Force (IAF) posted in Jamnagar who was served a show-cause notice by the IAF for not getting vaccinated for Covid-19.
The 28-year-old corporal, Yogendra Kumar, had moved the high court after the IAF served him the notice on May 10, seeking an explanation on why he should not be terminated from service for his refusal to take the Covid-19 vaccine.
With PTI inputs