Fresh petition in HC for local train travel for all in Mumbai

A fresh petition in HC on local train travel for all in Mumbai has questioned allowing only those fully vaccinated to travel
The fresh petition in HC seeks nod for all to travel by local trains in Mumbai. (HT FILE)
The fresh petition in HC seeks nod for all to travel by local trains in Mumbai. (HT FILE)
Updated on Sep 07, 2021 09:00 PM IST
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ByKAY Dodhiya, Mumbai

A fresh petition has challenged the government circular stating that only those citizens who are fully vaccinated will be permitted to travel on local trains and enter into public places such as malls. The petition states that though the Central government has made vaccines voluntary, the state authorities are going against the same by putting citizens in a situation where they have to get vaccinated. This violates the fundamental rights of citizens, it says.

The petition has further referred to various studies across the world which state that people who recover from Covid are more immune to cope with the virus than those who are vaccinated.

The writ petition filed by Yohan Tengra, a medical consultant and activist through advocate Abhishek Mishra has challenged the August 10 and 11 circulars of the state government which permits only fully vaccinated people from travelling on local trains. The petition also challenges the circular of July 15 which allows only people vaccinated with two doses of the vaccine or an RT-PCR test within 14 days to enter Maharashtra.

Read: Mumbai local train services resume for general commuters after four months

The petition states that the circulars are arbitrary, unconstitutional, unlawful and violates the fundamental rights of citizens.

The petition has relied upon orders of various courts and the guidelines of the Central government and Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) which state that vaccination is not mandatory to challenge the circulars and seek their quashing and allow all citizens to access trains and public places.

Last week activist Firoze Mithiborewala, through another petition, had sought directions to allow all citizens with or without vaccines to travel on local trains. The petition claimed that by putting conditions of full vaccination, the state was violating the fundamental rights of citizens.

The petition by Tengra refers to the responses of the ministry of health and family welfare to Right to Information (RTI) queries, wherein it has stated that vaccination is voluntary and there is no provision for compensation for those adversely affected by it. The petition also refers to judgements of various courts that state what is not allowed to be done directly, cannot be allowed indirectly, implying that as the vaccination is voluntary, the state cannot ask people to get vaccinated by putting conditions.

The petition has also pointed out the fact that there is no conclusive evidence to show that the vaccines are effective, as they are at an experimental stage and are not approved by the food and drug department. Vaccines only have emergency use authorization.

Further, the petition states that by making vaccination a pre-condition for local train travel, the government had violated the Universal Declaration of Bioethics and Human Rights, 2005, which holds that no drug can be administered to a person without his free consent and under the fear of his rights being prejudiced.

Referring to instances of people who are vaccinated getting infected with Covid and Covid-recovered persons being more immune to the virus than those who are vaccinated, the petition states that those with or without vaccines are no different and can be super-spreaders, hence the state cannot make a distinction.

When the petition came up for hearing before the bench of justice SS Shinde and justice NJ Jamadar on Tuesday, the bench observed that the contentions raised in the petition were more in the public interest and hence the registry should consider the same and place it before the appropriate bench and refused to hear the petition.

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Saturday, November 27, 2021