Curtailing movement of un-vaccinated persons arbitrary, amounts to house arrest: Gauhati HC
HC said since the SOP requires everyone to adhere to the protocols, there should not be any discrimination against un-vaccinated persons as the protocols are also applicable to un-vaccinated persons
GUWAHATI: The Gauhati High Court has held that the Mizoram government’s June 29 Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) debarring the un-vaccinated persons from venturing out, preventing them from eking out a living by restricting their movement as “arbitrary” and “not in consonance with the provisions of Article 14, 19 and 21 of the Constitution”.
A division bench of Justice Michael Zothankhum and Justice Nelson Sailo observed that there is nothing to show that the vaccinated persons cannot be infected with the Covid virus or that they cannot be spreaders.
“It has been brought to our notice that even persons, who have been vaccinated, can still be infected with the Covid virus, which would in turn imply that vaccinated persons who are Covid positive, can also spread the said virus to others."
“If vaccinated and un-vaccinated persons can be infected by the Covid virus and if they can both be spreaders of the virus, the restriction placed only upon the un-vaccinated persons, debarring them from earning their livelihood or leaving their houses to obtain essential items, is unjustified, grossly unreasonable and arbitrary,” the court observed.
It said there is no reason to discriminate only against the un-vaccinated persons if the vaccinated and the un-vaccinated persons cover their faces with a mask as per Covid appropriate behaviour.
The court said since the SOP requires everyone to adhere to the protocols, there should not be any discrimination against un-vaccinated persons as the protocols are also applicable to un-vaccinated persons.
It pointed out that there can be any number of reasons for a person to leave his/her house. It could be for the purpose of procuring essential supplies including foodstuff, medicines, attending to his/her near and dear/sick ones etc.
“However, the said clause has virtually put them under house arrest in violation of Article 21 of the Constitution of India, while persons who have been given the first dose of vaccine are allowed to leave their houses/compounds. Thus, on the ground of discrimination alone, Clause 5(2) is arbitrary,” the court observed.
The next hearing has been fixed on July 14.