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Home / India / Kerala HC query to central govt on Covaxin impact on job

Kerala HC query to central govt on Covaxin impact on job

Although WHO earlier this month granted emergency use approval to the Covid-19 vaccine, many countries including Saudi Arabia are yet to recognise it
Kerala High Court

K.M. Rakesh   |   Bangalore   |   Published 18.11.21, 01:28 AM

Kerala High Court has asked the Narendra Modi government if it is not its responsibility to ensure that citizens don’t lose their jobs due to complications arising out of non-acceptance of Covaxin by some countries.

The single bench of Justice P.V. Kunhikrishnan on Tuesday asked the Centre if it wasn’t duty-bound to redress the grievance of a petitioner who could lose his job since Saudi Arabia, where he is employed, does not recognise Covaxin, the Covid-19 vaccine indigenously developed by Bharat Biotech and the ICMR.

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The court directed additional solicitor-general of India S. Manu to get specific details on the possibility of recognition of the vaccine by Saudi Arabia, the petitioner’s counsel Manas P. Hameed told The Telegraph on Wednesday.

Although the World Health Organisation earlier this month granted emergency use approval to Covaxin, many countries including Saudi Arabia are yet to recognise it.

“The honourable court observed that it is a violation of the petitioner’s fundamental rights to deny him an opportunity to go back to his workplace. So the court directed the government counsel to get specific information on whether they can get approval from Saudi Arabia for Covaxin and how much time it would take to do so,” Hameed said.

The court will hear the case again on November 29.

Petitioner Girikumar Thekkan Kunnumpurath, 50, from Kerala’s Kannur district who works as a welder in Dammam, had pleaded that he was unable to return to Saudi Arabia and resume his job since the Gulf country does not recognise Covaxin.

Girikumar had moved the high court in August seeking judicial intervention to get Covishield jabs since he was unable to return to Saudi Arabia. He had come to India in January on his annual vacation but got stranded because the Covid pandemic that disrupted flights and foreign travel.

When he was ready to leave after taking two shots of Covaxin, he realised that the Indian jab was not accepted anywhere abroad.

His employer has since been extending his re-entry permit to enable him to return to his workplace whenever he manages to. Since all expats in that Gulf country require an exit permit to travel, a re-entry permit is also a must to return.

When the government counsel pointed out that Covaxin was administered to save lives and the Centre could not wait for the WHO approval for the India rollout, the court observed that it was not blaming the government but added that the concern of the petitioner who was unable to return to his workplace must also be redressed.



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