The Supreme Court of India on Monday passed a declaration regarding vaccinated. It said "Bodily autonomy and integrity are protected under the Constitution and nobody can be forced to undergo vaccinations".
The apex court said that condition imposed by some state governments restricting access of unvaccinated people to public place is arbitrary and should be recalled in the present prevailing conditions.
The court even observed that the Governments did not place any data to prove that unvaccinated person spreads virus more than vaccinated person and people who have not taken vaccines should not be barred from accessing public place.
"Till numbers are low, we suggest that relevant orders are followed and no restriction is imposed on vaccinated individuals on access to public areas or recall the same if already not done", the bench said.
The petition, which was filed by a former member of the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (NTAGI) Jacob Puliyel had disclosure regarding the post-vaccination data and clinical trial data.
The plea had also sought a declaration that vaccine mandates, in any manner whatsoever, even by way of making it a precondition for accessing any benefits or services, is a violation of the rights of citizens.
The petition, which was filed by a former member of the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (NTAGI) Jacob Puliyel had disclosure regarding the post-vaccination data and clinical trial data.The states had defended their vaccine policy saying that it is in the "Personal Interest of The People". The state of Tamil Nadu explained the vaccine mandate in the state and said that it satisfies larger public interest and is necessary for the safety of every person.
The states of Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh had already submitted that the decision to show vaccination proof fulfils the test of proportionality and is meant to create more awareness about vaccination.
A 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.
It was informed 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.
The plea filed by advocate Prashant Bhushan also seeks to disclose the post-vaccination data regarding adverse events, people who got infected with Covid, those who needed hospitalisation and those who died after such infection post-vaccination and direct the respondents to widely publicise the data collection of such adverse event through the advertisement of toll-free telephone numbers where such complaints can be registered.
"This should specifically be the case for vaccines for COVID-19 considering they are meant to be used in universal immunisation programmes and have been introduced in the clinical trial mode under emergency use authorisation. Information related to the same should be available for public and independent scientific scrutiny,' he said.