False Claims about the Indian Supreme Court Judgement against Vaccine Mandates Debunked

A landmark judgement was passed against vaccine mandates in India which has now made it illegal for anyone to discriminate between people on the ground of their vaccination status. However few people have been spreading wrong interpretations of the judgement, some due to their genuine misunderstandings, and others who are doing so on behalf of pharmaceutical companies and corrupt bureaucrats to intentionally misinterpret the judgment so that people don’t initiate compensation and prosecution charges on the criminals who enforced these illegal mandates. Below we conclusively debunk common false claims about the judgement :

False Claim Number 1

The Supreme Court has not written anywhere in the order that it is illegal to discriminate between the vaccinated and unvaccinated.

Reason : The Supreme Court in para 60 makes it very clear that vaccine mandates are not proportionate.

60. …in light of the data presented by the Petitioner, which has not been controverted by the Union of India as well as the State Governments, we are of the opinion that the restrictions on unvaccinated individuals imposed through vaccine mandates cannot be considered to be proportionate, especially since both vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals presently appear to be susceptible to transmission of the virus at similar levels.”

Some people have spread false claims that just because the Supreme Court said these mandates are not proportionate, that does not mean that they are illegal. This interpretation is false and misleading, as the Supreme Court has clearly mentioned in other parts of the judgement that in order for restrictions on peoples fundamental rights to be legal and constitutional, they must pass the three criteria of proportionality, legality and need. Relevant parts which mention this are listed below

21. We shall now proceed to analyse the precedents of this Court on the ambit of judicial review of public policies relating to health. It is well settled that the Courts, in exercise of their power of judicial review, do not ordinarily interfere with the policy decisions of the executive unless the policy can be faulted on grounds of malafide, unreasonableness, arbitrariness or unfairness etc. Indeed, arbitrariness, irrationality, perversity or malafide will render the policy unconstitutional

48. The crucial point that requires to be considered by us is whether limitations placed by the Government on personal autonomy of an individual can be justified in the interest of public health in the wake of the devastating COVID-19 pandemic. As stated, personal autonomy has been recognized as a critical facet of the right to life and right to self-determination under Article 21 of the Constitution, by this Court in Common Cause (supra). In K.S. Puttaswamy (supra), this Court laid down three requirements to be fulfilled by the State while placing restraints on the right to privacy to protect legitimate State interests. (i.e. legality, proportionality & need)

While the judgment is in context of the right to privacy, the analysis with respect to the threefold requirement for curtailment of such right is on the anvil of the protection guaranteed to fundamental freedoms under Article 21, and therefore, would also be the litmus test for invasion of an individual’s bodily autonomy under Article 21.

Point 3 of the Judgments Conclusion:

However, in the interest of protection of communitarian health, the Government is entitled to regulate the issues of public health concern by imposing certain limitations on individual rights, which are open to scrutiny by constitutional courts to assess whether such an invasion into an individuals right to personal autonomy meets the threefold requirement as laid down in KS Puttaswamy , i.e. (1) legality, which presupposes the existence of law, (2) need, defined in terms of a legitimate state aim; and (3) proportionality, which ensures a rational nexus between the objects and the means adopted to achieve them.

False Claim Number 2

In the order, the Supreme Court has only suggested that the authorities review the orders which have mandated vaccines if they’ve not already revoked them. Suggestions are not commands, hence this order will have no force to compel private companies, schools, colleges, etc to reverse the mandates.

Reason: In 1995 SCC (1) 259 M/S Spencer & Company Ltd & … vs M/S Vishwasarshan Distributors… on 6 December 1994, it is made very clear by the Supreme Court that even if their words in a judgement are in the form of an advice or suggestion and not an explicit command or direction, it is a judicial order and is considered binding and enforceable through the territory of India. Link to the said judgment can be found on this link : https://drive.google.com/file/d/1RhjS8La5m8wd1yfX_Ii9WYA6NkQfkiNI/view?usp=sharing

Relevant para can be found on page 260 Point A of this link

False Claim Number 3

In the Supreme Court order they have mentioned that the mandates are not proportionate only for the present time, and in the future, when govts increase testing and create more cases, authorities will be able to impose vaccine mandates again.

Reason: In point v of the judgments conclusion, the Supreme Court has made it clear that only an increase in cases is not a sufficient ground for imposing restrictions on unvaccinated people, but they have stated a two fold criteria of an increase in cases AND new evidence being generated which shows that unvaccinated people spread more Sars-Cov-2 virus than the vaccinated. Hence a mere increase in cases cannot be used as the only ground to impose restrictions :

v) …Till the infection rate remains low and any new development or research finding emerges which provides due justification to impose reasonable and proportionate restrictions on the rights of unvaccinated individuals, we suggest that all authorities in this country, including private organisations and educational institutions, review the relevant orders and instructions imposing restrictions on unvaccinated individuals in terms of access to public places, services and resources, if not already recalled.

This false claim does not make sense even from the perspective of common sense. If the Supreme court was ok with the Govt imposing restrictions due to an increase in cases, they would’ve used the word OR above instead of AND. Also, the Supreme Court has acknowledged in para 60 of the judgement that both vaccinated and unvaccinated people appear to spread the virus at similar levels. Hence even if cases increase, there is no basis to impose restrictions only on the unvaccinated as both vaccinated and unvaccinated people will be contributing to an increase in cases at an equal rate.

Hence we urge all our readers to counter false claims and share this article widely so that this judgment can be used by all Indians to fight against vaccine mandates

Download the entire judgement here : https://awakenindiamovement.com/indian-supreme-court-judgement-against-vaccine-mandates/

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