On May 02, 2022, the Hon’ble Supreme Court pronounced judgement in a public
interest litigation petition (PIL) filed in 2021 before it by Dr. Jacob Puliyel, a member of
the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunization (NTAGI), a group advising the
Indian Government on vaccines. The aforesaid petition was filed seeking reliefs on the
issues such as adverse consequences of vaccination approval, lack of transparency in
publishing segregated clinical trial data of vaccines, non-disclosure of clinical data, lack
of appropriate approval from regulatory authorities, evaluation of Adverse Events
Following Immunization (AEFIs), and mandatory vaccination being unconstitutional
(violating Article 21 of the Constitution of India). Further, petition dealt with various
Government Notifications wherein restrictions were imposed on unvaccinated people
including their right to access public places freely being in violation of fundamental
right of right to livelihood.
Union of India, being the Respondent no. 1 raised the preliminary issue of
maintainability of Petition on the ground that the sensitive issue of vaccination should
not be dealt with by the Court, as it has the propensity of fueling doubts about the
efficacy of the vaccines. It was contended that the pandemic has not come to an end,
and any interference with the steps being taken to curb COVID-19 including
implementation of vaccination policy will add to hesitancy of people in following it.
Further, the Union of India stated that the decision of domain experts should not be
interfered with in judicial review and the courts should not sit in an appeal over a
scientific process undertaken by domain experts. The States of Tamil Nadu,
Maharashtra, Delhi and Madhya Pradesh also filed counter-affidavits, justifying the
restrictions that were placed on unvaccinated persons in public interest.
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