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No one can be forced to get vaccinated: Supreme Court

"Bodily autonomy/integrity is a constitutional right and, therefore, nobody can be forced to be vaccinated," the court said.

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New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday refused to entertain a petition challenging the mandatory Covid-19 vaccine mandates as unconstitutional but it ruled that no one can be forced to get vaccinated.

A two-judge Bench headed by Justice L Nageswara Rao and also comprising Justice B R Gavai passed the judgement on the petition filed by Dr Jacob Pulliyel. “Bodily autonomy/integrity is a constitutional right and, therefore, nobody can be forced to be vaccinated,” the court said.

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The Supreme Court held that restrictions on unvaccinated individuals in relation to public places and access to resources were unreasonable and suggested that the states may remove such restrictions. This court does not have the expertise to decide on scientific evidence.

“We can decide manifest arbitrariness. considering bodily autonomy, bodily integrity is protected under Article 21,” the judge said in their order. The apex court said that it has the power to scrutinise the policy in question. No individual can be forced to take any vaccination.

The government can impose some restrictions in the interest of the community. On the basis of administering vaccination, the court said that the police is not against the Constitution.

It, however, said, no data has been placed controverting the material filed by the petitioners. The court said it recognised the decision taken by the Union of India to vaccinate children as it was on par with international standards and disposed off the petition. 

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