HC declines to interfere with policy of making vaccination mandatory for school, college staff

The High Court of Karnataka on Saturday declined to interfere with the Government’s policy of making vaccination mandatory for all teachers, lecturers, college students, and staff of educational institutions for entering the campus.

The court pointed out that it cannot put a large community of students at risk by interfering with the Government’s decision of making vaccine compulsory to attend educational institutions.

A Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi and Justice Sachin Shankar Magadum passed the order while rejecting a public interest litigation (PIL) petition filed by four medical practitioners, including Srinivasa B. Kakkillaya, and a medical student.

“We are of the considered view that no students, teachers, and other staff who have not been vaccinated cannot be permitted to attend the schools/colleges,” the Bench observed while declining to interfere with the State Government’s July 16, 2021 notification of making at least one dose of vaccine mandatory for teaching and non-teaching staff of the educational institutions and students above 18 years.

The petitioners had contended that the State Government’s July 2021 decision was contrary to the Union Government’s vaccine policy, which makes vaccination voluntary. It has also been contended in the petition that no coercive mandates could be issued by the State Government.

Meanwhile, the High Court disposed of around 17 PIL petitions, filed since the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, while giving liberty to the petitioners to file fresh petitions, if needed, as the number of COVID-19 cases has come down substantially in the State.

Excess amounts

On a PIL petition related to charging of excess amounts by private hospitals to treat COVID-19 patients, the Government said it had so far resolved over 200 complaints and private hospitals had refunded around ₹70 lakh to patients. It was also pointed out to the court that Suvarna Arogya Suraksha Trust had withheld payment of ₹10.22 crore from amongst claims made by private hospitals seeking reimbursement for treating government-referred COVID-19 patients.

The Bench adjourned further hearing on this petition till January last week while directing the Government to submit a report on the action taken against hospitals.

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Printable version | Jan 20, 2022 10:00:40 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/hc-declines-to-interfere-with-policy-of-making-vaccination-mandatory-for-school-college-staff/article37847923.ece

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