Denying people livelihood by linking jobs to jabs is illegal: Manipur HC
IMPHAL: The high court of Manipur ruled that “denying people their livelihood by linking their employment to their getting vaccinated would be illegal on the part of the state”.
The ruling of the division bench of Justice Sanjay Kumar and Justice Kh Nobin Singh, issued on Tuesday, also observed that such a measure would also trample upon the freedom of the individual to get vaccinated or choose not to do so.
“Restraining people, who are yet to get vaccinated from opening institutions, organizations, factories, shops, etc., or denying them their livelihood by linking their employment, be it NREGA job cardholders or workers in government or private projects, to their getting vaccinated would be illegal on the part of the State, if not unconstitutional,” the bench said.
The July 13 ruling of the high court was issued responding to a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed against Manipur government in connection with a state government notification which proposes to prioritise opening of institutions, organisations, factories, shops, markets, private offices etc where its employees and workers are Covid vaccinated.
The state government order issued by the home department on June 30 also said that it would also apply to Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Act (MNREGA) job card holders and workers of government/private projects.
The PIL said that the notification violates of Article 14, 19 and 21 of the Constitution of India, which guarantee right to equality, freedom, and right to life and personal liberty, wherein unvaccinated people are being discriminated at large by prioritising the vaccinated people by the Government of Manipur.
Observing that the state government apparently issued the impugned notification, in keeping with the policy of the central government, seeking to promote Covid vaccinations, the court in its order said that it is the duty of the State to spread awareness of the vaccination.
“It is for the State Government to dispel such fears by educating people as to the advantages of getting vaccinated and erase their apprehension of the adverse consequences of getting vaccinated. Without addressing this issue, the State cannot seek to impose conditions upon the citizens so as to compel them to get vaccinated, be it by holding out a threat or by putting them at a disadvantage for failing to get vaccinated,” the bench added.
The court ordered the state to file their reply within two weeks.