A petition was filed by Activist FerozeMithiborwala before the Bombay high Court against Maharashtra government’s decision which permitted only those people who have been fully vaccinated for Covid to use local trains, visit malls and workplaces.
The under Secretary and the Chief Secretary of the state issued a Standard OperatingProcedure on the 10th and 11th August which prohibited those who hadn’t taken both the vaccines from travelling in local trains or visiting malls or workplaces. They added that it was mandatory for shops, offices and other places to ensure that their staff had taken both the doses as well by 15th August.
The petitioner stated that these circulars were discriminatory towards those who hadn’t taken vaccination under Articles 14, 19 and 21 of the Constitution.
Art.14: Equality before law The State shall not deny to any person equality before the law or the equal protection of the laws within the territory of India Prohibition of discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth
Art 19: Protection of certain rights regarding freedom of speech etc:
(1) All citizens shall have the right
(a) to freedom of speech and expression;
(b) to assemble peaceably and without arms;
(c) to form associations or unions;
(d) to move freely throughout the territory of India;
(e) to reside and settle in any part of the territory of India; and
(g) to practice any profession, or to carry on any occupation, trade or business
Art.21: Protection of life and personal liberty No person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to procedure established by law.
He added that getting vaccinated is a choice of the public in accordance to the centre’s answer in the Lok Sabha on the 19th of March 2021. In the petition it was also stated that the SOP had also not considered those who had covid and have developed anti-bodies which is more effective than the vaccine derived immunity.
The petitioner relied on various High Court judgements from different states which had ruled that vaccine cannot be made mandatory. It was added in the plea that before the pandemic Delhi and Kerala HC had ruled that vaccines cannot be made mandatory.
The activist in his plea had prayed for an appropriate action to be taken against the officers of the state of Maharashtra as per the provisions of National Disaster Management Act as well as IPC and that all people within the Mumbai metropolitan region be allowed to use local transportation irrespective of the vaccination.