- IAF terminates officer after he refuses to get COVID-19 vaccine
- The IAF officer challenges his wrongful termination in court
- In the order passed on Tuesday, a division bench of Justices AJ Desai and AP Thaker issued the notice to the IAF and central government
The Gujarat High Court has issued a notice to the Indian Air Force (IAF) on a petition which was filed by one of its personnel posted in Jamnagar, challenging the show cause notice issued to him for termination of service after he expressed his unwillingness to get vaccinated for the Coronavirus.
In the order which was passed on Tuesday, a division bench of Justices AJ Desai and AP Thaker issued the notice to the IAF as well as the central government directing the IAF not to take any coercive action against the petitioner until the 1st of July.
IAF corporal and petitioner Yogender Kumar had moved the high court seeking a direction to cancel the show cause notice dated 10th May 2021, in which the IAF stated that his stand against vaccination “verges to gross indiscipline”, and his continuation in the service is likely to adversely impact the health of other “air warriors and Air Force civilians”.
Kumar, quoting the notice issued to him by the IAF, said, “The IAF is of the opinion that your continuation in the disciplined force like Indian Air Force is undesirable and you need to be separated from the service”.
The plea claims that the decision of respondent no. 1 (IAF) to dismiss the petitioner for refusing to get vaccinated is not only contrary to the guidelines of the Union of India but also violative of Articles 14 and 21 of the Constitution of India.
In his plea, Kumar said, “The termination from a job due to unwillingness to take COVID-19 vaccine is completely illegal, unconstitutional and arbitrary on part of respondent no.1,” as he seeks the court’s direction to cancel the notice and direct the IAF not to force him to get vaccinated.
On the 26th of February this year, the petitioner wrote to the Commanding Officer of their squadron, expressing his unwillingness to take vaccination against COVID-19.
As he refused to get vaccinated, the petitioner in his application, had told the IAF that he was using ayurvedic medicines to increase his immunity against the novel Coronavirus. He had also told that he uses allopathic medicines only in an emergency, or when a solution is not possible in Ayurveda.
Kumar added, “I have some hesitation and my inner consciousness does not allow me to get vaccinated”.
Yogender Kumar had also said that he may be excused from vaccination against COVID-19.
In his plea, he said, “The petitioner has the right to receive treatment of his choice and vaccination cannot be forced upon him.
“As per the central government, the vaccine is voluntary and not mandatory for individuals in the country”.
The IAF officer also said he was unwilling to get vaccinated as it is not fully approved by the administration and has been given emergency use authorisation only, hence it should not be considered the only option for prevention of COVID-19.
He had also cited various reports from newspapers that were related to the adverse effects of COVID-19 vaccines and some deaths as well.
The petitioner also cited a judgement from the Supreme Court of 2018 to buttress his claim and said “he has the right to receive treatment of his choice and vaccination cannot be forced upon him.”