COVID19: High Court Refuses To Allow Unvaccinated Government School Teacher To Resume Work
The Delhi High Court on Wednesday refused to allow a Delhi government teacher, who chose to remain unvaccinated against COVID-19, to join her duty.
The Delhi High Court on Wednesday refused to allow a Delhi government teacher, who chose to remain unvaccinated against COVID-19, to join her duty. The court declined interim relief to the teacher who was marked "on leave," saying that it was not inclined to interfere unless there was a medical issue.
“I am not inclined. Why should she not get vaccinated? There is not a case for interim relief,” Justice Rekha Palli said adding that being unvaccinated “puts everyone at risk”. The court issued notice and sought the Delhi government's response on the teacher's challenge to the Department of Education's order restraining unvaccinated teachers from attending school from October 15.
Counsel Siddharth Krishna, appearing for the Delhi government, opposed the petition and said that allowing the petitioner to start coming to school would put the students at risk. Senior lawyer Sanjoy Ghose, appearing for the teacher, stated that his client “does not want to expose her body to external substance” and presently, she has strong immunity as her antibody count was 427.
The senior counsel contended that vaccination was voluntary and being unvaccinated was not a crime. It was also emphasised that there was nothing to show that mandatory vaccination prevented transmission of the virus. Urging the court to allow the petitioner to resume work, he stated that she was willing to undertake the COVID-19 test every month and practice COVID-appropriate behaviour.
“Not at all. I will not touch that matter. I am not inclined at all unless there is a serious problem,” the judge said. The judge said it was because of vaccination that there were now milder cases of the virus and observed, “today the position that we are in, it is because of vaccination.” The petitioner agreed to get herself vaccinated without prejudice to her rights and contentions but urged the authorities to “take responsibility for any short term or long term consequences”.
The court dismissed the application for interim relief and clarified that merely because the petitioner is now willing to get vaccinated, it should not be seen as the court condoning the prior lapse. The court directed that the matter be listed along with another pending petition challenging the order.
On September 29, the Directorate of Education issued an order saying that “all such teachers and school staff who have not got themselves vaccinated by October 15, 2021, should not be allowed to attend the school and their absence would be treated as on leave.” In the pending case, another school teacher has sought direction to the authorities not to force him to get himself vaccinated for COVID-19 since he was suffering from some ailment and vaccination may worsen his medical condition. The matters would be heard next in February.
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