Libertatem Magazine

Consider Recording Full Name of Vaccine and Passport Number, Kerala High Court Orders to Union of India

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Since 2020, the Indian sub-continent has seen a rise and fall in the cases of the COVID-19 pandemic. The whole world has been affected and the race for the vaccine was the primary aim of all the countries. The vaccines for the pandemic were discovered by many countries and India was one among the list and with this, the travel restrictions have been reduced to some extent. Every individual gets a certificate after taking the vaccination. Coming to facts of the case, the petitioner is a Non-Resident Indian (NRI) had shown the court the problem faced by the citizens travelling abroad as the vaccination name recorded is not recognized in some countries. 

This was highlighted by the petitioner for him approaching the court by filing a public interest civil writ petition, which sought for the inclusion of the full name of the vaccine and also the passport number which would facilitate easy recognition. 

Arguments before the Court

The petitioner was represented by Advocate Haris Beeran, who placed some of the suggestions to reduce the hindrance caused to travellers and specifically NRIs in flying to other countries. The counsel for the petitioner placed on record, an order by the administration of Saudi Arabia which laid down that, the full name of the vaccine and passport number in the certificate was essential, and if satisfied only can enter into the land of Saudi Arabia. He relied on this aforesaid order and claimed that the citizens who are waiting for vaccination and those who already have been, will face hurdles if other countries follow the footsteps of Saudi Arabia. The counsel also brought the fact of Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin not being recognized by other nations and people, not provided with the liberty to choose the vaccine may cause a hindrance for travel. 

On the other hand, the respondent was represented by Additional Solicitor General Raj Kumar, there were no significant arguments made as the counsel requested time to get the centre’s response. 

Court’s Observation

The Court accepted the concern raised by the petitioner, as adding the passport number and full name of the vaccine would help in easing out the travel restrictions and comply with the standard procedure of operation as per the country. The bench also considered an option to enter the passport number that would be reflected on the certificate as it would benefit the NRIs and other citizens travelling abroad. 

Court’s Order

The division bench of Kerala directed the Centre to consider the concern raised by the petitioner to add the complete name of the vaccine and passport number. It also asked the centre to record the brand name of the vaccine and not the product name (Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid-19 Vaccine replacing Covishield).  The Court also considered the respondent’s request for time, granted 15 days for the Centre to reply.  The case will be next heard on the 23rd of June 2021.                 

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