Petition to NHRC to Protect the Bodily Integrity of the Citizens of India
Petition by: Rakesh Raman
I have filed the following petition to the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) of India to protect the bodily integrity of the citizens of India.
To June 18, 2021
Justice Arun Kumar Mishra
National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) of India
Manav Adhikar Bhawan, Block-C, GPO Complex, INA
New Delhi 110 023
PETITION TO PROTECT THE HUMAN RIGHTS RELATED TO THE “BODILY INTEGRITY” / “BODILY AUTONOMY” OF THE CITIZENS OF INDIA DURING THE COVID-19 TESTS AND VACCINATION ADMINISTRATION OF THE GOVERNMENT.
Petition by: Rakesh Raman
Dear Justice Arun Kumar Mishra,
I am a national award-winning journalist and founder of the humanitarian organization RMN Foundation. Besides handling other editorial and social projects, I also produce The Outbreak magazine which covers global coronavirus (Covid-19) news and views.
I am filing this application before the NHRC court to get the fundamental human right of bodily autonomy of the people of India protected as the Government of India and state governments are carrying out Covid-19 tests and vaccination drives.
BODILY INTEGRITY AND BODILY AUTONOMY
Bodily integrity means the inviolability of the physical body and it allows personal autonomy, self-ownership, and self-determination of human beings over their own bodies. The violation of the bodily integrity of another person is regarded as an unethical infringement, intrusive, and a possible criminal act, and therefore it amounts to human rights violation.
Therefore, according to bodily integrity rules, it is an offence to force people to accept Covid-19 tests and vaccines. The authorities are supposed to take an explicit consent from the people before giving them Covid-19 tests or vaccines.
According to the National Health Service (NHS) of the United Kingdom (UK), consent to treatment means a person must give permission before they receive any type of medical treatment, test, or examination. This must be done on the basis of an explanation by a clinician.
Consent from a patient is needed regardless of the procedure, whether it’s a physical examination, organ donation, or something else. The NHS says that the principle of consent is an important part of medical ethics and international human rights law.
The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) states that bodily autonomy is about the right to make decisions over one’s own life and future. It is about being empowered to make informed choices. These are universal values. Governments everywhere have committed, in a variety of international agreements, to protecting autonomy. Respect for bodily autonomy is a core tenet of international medical ethics.
UNFPA advises that we must not overlook the incredible efforts to secure bodily autonomy being led by advocates all over the world. Not only is bodily autonomy a human right, it is the foundation upon which other human rights are built.
The bodily autonomy right is also covered under Article 21 of the Indian Constitution, which is inspired by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and is a fundamental right guaranteed to every person residing in India. Article 21 secures citizens’ right to life and personal liberty. As Article 21 is believed to be the backbone of human life, it cannot be suspended even during proclamation of emergency.
NEED TO PROTECT BODILY INTEGRITY
The need to protect bodily integrity is crucial during the Covid-19 pandemic because of limited or misleading information available about the nature of the virus and its treatment. It is extremely important to allow people to decide whether or not they want to get vaccinated because there are increasing concerns about the safety and efficacy of Covid-19 vaccines.
REASONS FOR FILING THE APPLICATION
- There are multiple reports (click here for report case 1 and click here for report case 2 as evidence) which reveal that people in India are being forced to get tested or vaccinated while they have the right to protect their bodies. The reports of forced testing and Covid-19 vaccination in India are causing panic among communities.
- Although the Government of India asserts that the coronavirus vaccine cannot be forced upon anyone and the government will educate and give the right information to people about it, the cases of forced vaccination have not stopped.
- A group of 27 clinicians, researchers, and advocates has filed an urgent citizen petition with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) urging the agency not to prematurely grant full approval to any Covid vaccine. In its 20-page petition, the group has outlined many unanswered questions surrounding the efficacy and safety of Covid vaccines, and detailed how data must be collected before the FDA considers granting any vaccine full approval.
- A leading doctor has warned that the current vaccination drive can have disastrous consequences for people around the world. In an open letter to WHO, Dr. Geert Vanden Bossche says that by vaccinating everyone with a vaccine that does not prevent transmission, we are destroying people’s immune systems, and setting the stage for a global health disaster. He says that these vaccines must not be used in the heat of a pandemic on millions of millions of people. [ Click here to watch the video interview. ]
“Mass infection prevention and mass vaccination with leaky Covid-19 vaccines in the midst of the pandemic can only breed highly infectious variants,” Dr. Bossche said. He has repeated his call for a public scientific debate with the WHO, qualified experts, and authorities worldwide over mass vaccination campaigns.
- Governments too are worried, as they are clueless about the effect of vaccines on Covid-19 and its variants. In March, Members of the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety Committee of the European Parliament debated with experts over the efficacy of vaccines against mutations of the Covid-19 virus. Members quizzed experts on the authorisation process for updated vaccines, on the role of vaccination certificates, and on the safety and side effects of existing vaccines.
- A recent report submitted by the National AEFI (Adverse Event Following Immunization) Committee to the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare has reported bleeding and clotting cases following Covid vaccination in India. As WHO is also not sure about the effectiveness or the harms of Covid-19 vaccines, it has launched a vaccine injury compensation programme.
- The Government of India and various state governments are running the vaccination drives haphazardly. Since India has become the global hotspot of coronavirus and the government is hiding information on Covid calamity, it is not collecting / releasing data on the effects of vaccines on each person after giving them the vaccine doses. The government has also not revealed publicly the risk-benefit analysis that it has done for vaccination. Among other flaws in the vaccination process, the Indian Government has not revealed its assessment of the effect of Covid-19 vaccines on people with immune system deficiencies or dysregulations.
- In order to know the strategy behind the vaccination process, on June 10, 2021, I had sent a list of queries to Dr. Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India. But the Minister and his office did not respond to the queries. [ You can click here to read my letter emailed to Dr. Harsh Vardhan. ]
RECOMMENDATIONS AND REQUEST FOR ACTION
Since the Government of India and various state governments are trying to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic in a casual, free-wheeling manner, it will be difficult – if not impossible – to contain the contagion which will keep persisting for the next many years. Therefore, with this petition, I urge the NHRC to consider the following recommendations and direct the Government of India, the state governments, and courts to implement them in a time-bound manner.
- The Government of India and the state governments through advertisements and other communication channels should announce repeatedly that Covid-19 vaccination and tests are optional and they will not be imposed on any citizen of India.
- The Government of India and the state governments should make and provide exclusive traditional and digital media facilities to the citizens so that they could easily file and monitor their complaints related to forced Covid-19 vaccination and tests.
- The Government of India should make an interactive G2C (government-to-citizen) information portal which should be integrated with the states to collect real-time data on vaccination of each citizen. It should publicly reveal authenticated information about the safety and efficacy of each vaccine brand. After administering the vaccine, each vaccinated person should be tracked for at least six months to know if they have experienced any side effects, got infected, or died. Their daily consolidated data should appear on the portal so people could analyze and decide if they want to get vaccinated.
The multilingual portal should also contain other relevant information such as number of Covid cases, deaths, healthcare resources, and awareness programs. The tech experts should create an effective User Interface (UI) for this web portal so that it is easy for the users to navigate and take information. It should be managed as a mission-critical service. The existing government websites are so stale and repulsive that they do not give any useful information.
- With the help of tech experts, the Government of India should also make an Artificial Intelligence (AI)-based expert system which should help the government officials and healthcare professionals make the right decisions about vaccination and overall Covid management.
- The courts must fix accountability of officials (ministers, bureaucrats, doctors, etc.) for any lapse in the delivery of healthcare service to the citizens. Instead of using vulgar language and loose statements in the courtrooms, the judges must use the law to hold these officials accountable and punish them according to the law. The judges must realize that they have to pronounce judgments based on law and they are not supposed to act as religious preachers to issue casual condemnation statements against the culprits.
- The governments must introduce formal compensation programs for the citizens who get adversely affected and harmed by the Covid-19 vaccines.
- All court hearings must be live-streamed and recorded for the citizens to know the truth about Covid-19 infections, government actions, Covid management, and the impact of treatment.
- NHRC can consider any other relief that may be provided in this case.
Note: As this is a digital document, please click the blue hyperlinks to fully understand various aspects of the case. As the petitioner, I will be available through online virtual meetings to further explain the case and possible administrative remedies.
Editor, RMN News Service [ Website ]
Founder, RMN Foundation [ Website ]
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