‘Employer cannot impose COVID-19 vaccination’: Delhi HC

A lecturer had sought that she be allowed to perform her duty without being compelled to get vaccinated


Much to the relief of a government school lecturer, the Delhi High Court ruled that no employer can force an employee to get vaccinated against COVID-19 or insist on the vaccination.

Last year, the said teacher — who teaches history in a government school under the Directorate of Education of the Government of Delhi — had approached the court with a petition to be allowed to discharge her duties without being compelled to get vaccinated.

However, the teacher is now vaccinated, and therefore, Justice Prathibha M Singh allowed her to formally seek service benefits from the concerned authority. The Court has directed that a decision be taken on the issue within 30 days.

The Court referred to the Supreme Court’s judgement in the past wherein it had been ruled that an individual has the right to deny medical treatment that affects his/her own individual health. That is what personal autonomy meant.

Also, the Court relied on the order issued by a coordinate bench in a previous case, wherein it was clear that as per the Supreme Court ruling, employers were not demanding that employees be vaccinated and employees were allowed to resume their duties even if they weren’t vaccinated.

Meanwhile, elsewhere in the world, an employee of ESPN is facing a lawsuit from a former producer, who had worked for the Company for three decades. She had been ordered to take the vaccine shot, but had refused to do so because of religious reasons. Following her refusal, she ended up losing her job. However, she has now filed a case saying that by firing her, ESPN had violated Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits religious discrimination and provides for religious accommodations.

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