Kerala High Court sets aside single-judge verdict on Covishield dose gap

A Division Bench of the Kerala High Court on Friday set aside a single judges’ verdict allowing those willing to take a second paid dose of Covishield vaccine four weeks after the first jab, instead of the 84-day gap.

The Bench, comprising Chief Justice S. Manikumar and Justice Shaji P. Chali, passed the verdict while allowing an appeal filed by the Centre against the single judge’s order. It came on a writ petition filed by Kitex Garments Ltd and Kitex Childrenswear Ltd, Kochi, seeking a directive to the Centre to allow its workers to receive the second shot of Covishield before completing the stipulated 84-day gap between the two doses.

Scientific advice

Allowing the appeal of the Centre, the Bench observed “we are of the view that the Government of India has acted in terms of the scientific and expert advice, based on the studies conducted by them, and therefore, it is not for the Constitutional courts to analyse the intrinsic aspects of the same, in order to arrive at a different conclusion, which is also impermissible in law.”

Dismissing the contention of the petitioner-companies that they have the right to liberty to make a choice between early protection and better protection, the court observed, “there is no scope for any such individual preference against the interest of the nation and citizens at large.”

The court added that once the provisions of the Disaster Management Act, 2005 was invoked by the government, “the individual freedom and interest may have given way to the interest of the citizens of the country at large, failing which, the government would not be in a position to manage, coordinate, and implement the measures and activities taken for protecting the rights and liberties of the citizens at large, rather than self-centric and individual protection of the rights.”

The judges further observed that the classification made by the Central government to administer the second dose of vaccine before 84 days to a set of people travelling abroad, could never be an unreasonable one.

Not arbritary

The court added that the choice given by the Centre to a particular group for taking the second dose vaccine of Covishield before the completion of 84 days could never be said to be arbitrary or an unfair action, especially for the reason that nobody had a case that the Union government was interested only to protect the interest of those alone.

The court also pointed out that that the duration of administering the first and the second doses of vaccine was varied at different times and was finally decided at 84 days, which was on the basis of advice given by the advisory and expert bodies of the Union government and for acquiring herd immunity, which could never be seen otherwise than to protect the interest of the nation.

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Printable version | Jan 26, 2022 11:50:30 AM |

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