Published: 02nd November 2021
Between Covishield and Covaxin, centre has created two classes of citizens, says Kerala High Court
The court said that in case the Centre wants more time to make a decision, a direction can be issued to pay the petitioner the amount he received as salary while working abroad
The Centre's vaccination scheme has created two classes of citizens in India — those who got Covaxin, whose movements are restricted, and those who received Covishield and can go anywhere — the Kerala High Court said on November 2.
The court said that the creation of two classes of citizens has resulted in "infringement of the fundamental right of movement of the petitioner". The court observed, "A citizen is suffering due to a state-sponsored vaccination scheme. It is a clear case of infringement of the fundamental rights of the petitioner." The observation by Justice PV Kunhikrishnan came during the hearing of a man's plea for a third jab of COVID vaccine, but this time an internationally recognised vaccine so that he can go abroad for work.
The man, who was working as a welder in Saudi Arabia, moved the court for a third jab as the two doses of Covaxin he received is not recognised or approved in the Gulf nation; he now stands to lose his job as he cannot go to Arabia without an internationally recognised vaccine jab. The Court said it will direct the Central government to redress the petitioner's grievance within one month and has listed the matter for hearing on November 5 where the Centre is expected to respond.
Court cannot be a mere spectator
Additionally, the Court also said that in case the Centre wants more time to make a decision, a direction can be issued to pay the petitioner the amount he was receiving as salary while working abroad. "The Court cannot sit like a mere spectator," the judge said. A similar case is currently underway in the Supreme Court, recently the top court said that it will wait for the World Health Organisation (WHO) decision on the issue. The Centre had in August said that clinical trials were underway to ascertain efficacy of administering a third dose of COVID vaccine and it will take several months to complete.