The Supreme Court on Monday issued notice to the Central government in a plea against coercing people to get vaccinated for COVID-19 by imposing it as condition for access to essential services (Dr. Jacob Puliyel v. Union of India)..The plea by Dr. Jacob Puliyel also sought disclosure of clinical trial and post vaccination data.A Bench headed by Justice L Nageswara Rao sought response from the Health Ministry but refused to pass any interim directions.The Court also said made it clear that hearing the petition cannot be construed as a signal that the Court does not trust the efficacy of COVID vaccines. "Once we entertain this petition it should not send a signal that we do not trust the efficacy of these vaccines," the Court remarked.The plea by Dr. Jacob Puliyel, former member of the National technical Advisory Group on Immunisation, prayed for declaration that mandating vaccination for COVID, in any manner whatsoever, even by way of making it a precondition for accessing any benefits or services, is a violation of rights of citizens and unconstitutional."Coercing people to take the vaccines on pain of losing their jobs or access to essential services, which has begun to happen in many parts of the country, is a violation of the fundamental rights of people, especially in a situation where emergency approvals have been given to vaccines without full and adequate testing and without any transparency of the trial data and post vaccination data," the plea filed through advocate Prashant Bhushan said.While the government has clearly stated in numerous RTIs that Covid vaccines are voluntary, there are many instances from across the country where now various authorities are mandating the vaccines, the plea added.In this regard, reliance was placed on the Supreme Court judgment in KS Putaswamy v. Union of India in which it was held that "right to 'autonomy' of the individual which can interchangeably be said to be her right to'self determine'when it comes to her health flows from Article 21 and is a facet of her right to privacy."The plea also alleged that the vaccines currently being administered have not been adequately tested for safety or efficacy are now licensed under Emergency Use Authorisation without the data being disclosed to the public."This is a clear violation of the basic norms of scientific disclosure and the guidelines with respect to disclosure of clinical trial data, as laid down by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and followed by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR). In India, the manner in which the vaccines have been licensed vitiates and even precludes the possibility that the vaccines can be evaluated objectively in the future," the petition stated.Advocate Bhushan, appearing for the petitioner, made two fold submissions. He sought publication of trial data so that people can make an informed choice. "If data is not made public then trust does not improve and helps address vaccine hesitancy," he said.He also pointed out that while the government has maintained that taking vaccine is voluntary, it denies essential services who are not vaccinated."Centre says vaccines are completely voluntary. (But) Nobody can be coerced by saying that services will be denied if you don't have vaccination. See what is happening now," Bhushan contended."We appreciate your concern. We are looking at larger public interest and looking at the opposite view. there is no way we can stop the vaccines," the Court responded. Bhushan maintained that the plea is not an "anti-vaccine" petition. But he proceeded to point out adverse effects of vaccine. "Two-thirds of the country has had COVID as per the ICMR study. There is a study showing vaccines may be leading to the newer covid variants and vaccines have hardly any efficacy on Delta variant," he submitted."This country is fighting vaccine shortage. Now we are on a different tangent. Let vaccination go on and we don't want to stop this," the Bench remarked. It then issued notice. ."Please decide this quickly as coercive mandates are being issues," Bhushan said.