“Infecting someone else cannot be the right of a person”: Solicitor General tells Supreme Court

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Solicitor General Tushar Mehta (SG) told Supreme Court in Prashant Bhushan’s PIL against vaccine mandates that a person cannot claim to have a right to not get vaccinated against Covid19 as it cannot be one’s “right” to infect others.

Whereas, referring to the right of the citizen to choose whether to get vaccinated or not Mehta said,

"Milord's euthanasia may be a right, a person may have a right to die but infecting someone else cannot be his right."

The SG informed the Supreme Court on Monday that no data regarding vaccines can be shared to satisfy somebody's curiosity unless a legal mandate requires it. The Court was hearing a PIL alleging that vaccines are being administered to the public without testing safety and that adequate data is not being disclosed to the public.

Regarding the non-disclosure of data regarding vaccines, Mehta submitted before the bench that there would be a confidentiality issue. “Just anybody cannot analyze the data and come to their own conclusions, it'll lead to vaccine hesitancy,” he insisted.

Before a bench of Justice L Nageswara Rao and Justice BR Gavai, the Solicitor General  while justifying efficacy of the vaccine, Mehta informed the bench that there is an independent oversight committee for the clinical trial during making of the vaccine. Whereas, if any serious adverse affect occurs, the ethics committee shall analyze the documents report them to the Drug Controller General Of India.

Mehta further submitted that the clause to deal with the sudden situation arising in the country, unmet medical need, disaster and biological infliction, accelerated approval process may be allowed. These were already in place, it was not made to suit the COVID-19 Situation.

"For the purpose of Vaccine accelerated approval process was used, if the present situation doesn't fall under this then, what situation can fall into this," Mehta added.

Mehta also added that at every stage, the committee meeting has taken place, manufacturers have met, the minutes of the meeting and the decisions taken thereof are all in the public domain. In addition to this, "There is a system in place if there is a severe side effect of the vaccine there is a causality assessment team which will enquire into the position," Mehta added.

Mehta further referring to the data collected during vaccine trials submitted that, "It can be given over the legal issue like if someone had a severe effect due to the vaccine and he decides to file a suit if in that case court asks for data that is legal requirements, Not to satisfy someone's curiosity,"

Over the issue of vaccination of children, Mehta said, "Milords we are going downwards in a phased manner, other countries have started for 5 years and above, we earlier had 15 to 18 years and now we have started for 12 to 14 years."

The bench will continue hearing the matter on March 21, 03, 2022, Monday at 2:00 PM.

Earlier, Advocate Prashant Bhushan while arguing against the compulsory vaccine mandate had submitted that “It is unstick and irresponsible to use such untested vaccines on children. They are hardly affected by COVID. Chances of children dying of vaccine itself is more than chances of the child dying due to COVID.”

Bhushan had further argued that some schools are mandating not only the children to get vaccinated but are also forcing the parents to be vaccinated. On vaccination for children, Bhushan submitted that vaccines can cause Myocarditis in children. He argued that one in 1000 children can get Myocarditis because of the vaccination, however the chances of children becoming seriously ill because of COVID is one in a lakh.

Case title: Jacob Puliyel Vs Union of India & Ors.