Covid Vaccination Cannot Be Insisted By Employer: Delhi HC On Plea By Teacher Who Was Asked To Get Vaccinated
The Delhi High Court has observed that Covid-19 vaccination cannot be insisted upon by the employer.
The bench of Justice Prathiba M. Singh while placing reliance on Supreme Court’s Judgment in Jacob Puliyel vs Union of India & Ors., observed that “…Covid-19 vaccination cannot be insisted upon by the employer.”
The Court made this observation while dealing with the plea by a woman employed as a Lecturer in the Government Girls Senior Secondary School.
She had filed the petition seeking a declaration that she should be allowed to attend the school, conduct teaching and undertake other responsibilities without being forced to take the COVID-19 vaccine.
She also prayed that her service benefits be reinstated for days when she was forcefully marked absent and that leaves thrust upon her may not be debited from her Leave Account.
Advocate Megha Bahl appeared for the petitioner whereas Advocate Santosh Kumar Tripathi appeared for Respondents.
The Court observed that the issue related to non-vaccination has already been considered by the Supreme Court in Jacob Puliyel vs Union of India & Ors., and by the High Court in writ petition titled ‘Narendar Kumar vs. Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi.
The Court noted that in Jacob Puliyel (supra), the Supreme Court had held that bodily integrity is protected Under Article 21 of the Constitution and no individual can be forced to be vaccinated.
The Apex Court had noted that personal autonomy of an individual encompasses the right to refuse to undergo any medical treatment in the sphere of individual health.
The Court added however, in the interest of protection of communitarian health, the Government is entitled to regulate issues of public health concern by imposing certain limitations on individual rights.
Thus while observing the above-mentioned orders, the High Court disposed of the woman’s plea with the direction that Covid-19 vaccination cannot be insisted upon by the employer.
The Court also noted that the Petitioner, in any case, has now got vaccinated as well.
Insofar as the question on service benefits are concerned, the Court observed thus “…the Petitioner is permitted to make representation to the concerned authority and the decision on the same shall be taken within 30 days.”
The Counsel for the Petitioner submitted that the representation has been made in June, 2022.
“Let the copy of the said representation be forwarded with a fresh covering letter to ld. Counsel for the Respondents within 1 week. A decision on the same shall be taken within four weeks by the Respondents.”, the Court directed.
Cause Title- Isha v. State of NCT of Delhi