The Madras High Court has refused to entertain a public interest litigation petition which had challenged the State government’s insistence that teachers of schools and colleges must be double vaccinated against COVID-19 before handling physical classes.

Acting Chief Justice Munishwar Nath Bhandari and Justice P.D. Audikesavalu were of the view that the case was actually against public interest, especially when such insistence on double vaccination appeared to have been made with the intention of protecting students from COVID-19.

Justice Bhandari said the teachers who did not want to get vaccinated for personal reasons could stay at home and not attend physical classes. When the petitioner’s counsel insisted that such teachers should not be terminated from service, the acting Chief Justice said service matters could not be decided in a PIL petition.

After not finding favour with the bench, the counsel chose to withdraw the case. Academic Resources Advancement Movement (ARAM), a public trust which had received donations to the tune of ₹25.60 lakh in 2020-21 for espousing various causes, had filed the PIL petition.

Its chairman A. Umar Farook said the Centre had made it very clear that no citizen could be coerced or compelled to get vaccinated against COVID-19 though the government would encourage all adults to get vaccinated.

He said there was no conclusive proof that the vaccine would not have any side-effects or that it would prevent COVID-19.

Stating that there were several remedies under different forms of Indian medicine too for treating and preventing COVID-19, the petitioner trust said the citizens must be allowed to exercise their choice freely without being coerced to go for an allopathic remedy in the form of vaccination.