West indian people

Allowing only fully vaccinated people on local trains is illegal: HC

The Bombay High Court on Tuesday said orders passed by Maharashtra’s former chief secretary allowing only fully vaccinated people to travel on local trains were an unlawful and brazen violation of basic citizens’ rights.

A divisional bench consisting of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice MS Karnik has been told by the Maharashtra government that it is willing to withdraw the circulars of July 15 and August 10 and 11 last year only allowing “fully immunized” people to board local trains and that it would review its subsequent circulars.

The Chief Secretary (CS) had written to the state’s attorney that while those orders had been withdrawn, some of the restrictions would continue to be in effect. “In the spirit of court compliance, these (new) orders may also be revised. With three days’ notice in accordance with disaster management rules, according to the current situation, I will issue a new directive replacing the existing orders” , said the chief secretary. noted.

The court then asked whether the new ordinances were also passed by CS without consulting the state executive committee (SEC).

“They are SEC ratified,” the attorney representing the state replied.

The bench said: “With this situation, you are infringing on the fundamental rights of the parties through a process that is not in accordance with the law. Let’s leave out the members of the public, every time we used to have a review meeting of administrative judges, we were guided by these orders.”

CS said a new decision would be made by the SEC on Feb. 25 consistent with the letter and spirit of the court’s observations.

The hearing was adjourned to February 28.

The court was hearing two public interest litigation motions seeking to lift the ban on the unvaccinated or those who had only taken one shot from traveling on local trains.

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