“Our shoulders are broad enough to take any criticism”, the Supreme Court on Tuesday said after a lawyer complained that his arguments were not recorded in the order and would create the wrong impression in public. A bench of Justices DY Chandrachud and Sanjiv Khanna took a serious view of the submissions of advocate Nilesh Ojha, who as an intervenor sought that his views be recorded in the order passed on the plea of the Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights (DCPCR).
“We don't want a certificate from you. Don't worry. Our shoulders are broad enough to take any criticism. We don't care what the people say. We are not here to please people. We are here to do justice and we have taken the oath to abide by the constitution”, Justice Chandrachud said.
Ojha said that by not recording his submissions in the order an impression is being created in the public that the court is not hearing ones who are against the vaccination programme and only hears pro-vaccine parties. At the outset, the bench told Ojha that he as an intervenor will have to support the cause and prayers made in the main petition and assist the court in the matter.
“You as an intervenor cannot claim independent relief. You have to assist the court”, the bench told Ojha, assuring that his views on not to vaccinate the pregnant and lactating mothers have been taken note of. In another petition related to vaccination of disabled people, Ojha as an intervenor pleaded that disabled people should not be vaccinated by the second dose as there exists immunity due to the presence of antibodies against the virus in the body and the second dose will be an unnecessary loss to the public exchequer.
He claimed that his arguments were based on scientific research and studies of experts published in various journals which say that once vaccinated immunity does not cease. Justice Chandrachud told Ojha that immunity does not stay for life long.
The top court left it for the Centre to take a considered view on the suggestions given by the DCPCR for the need to provide effective access to vaccination and targeted tracking of pregnant women and lactating mothers in case of Adverse Event Following Immunization (AEFI). It said that the court is conscious of the fact that the suggestions which have been made on behalf of DCPCR are issues of policy but these have emanated from a statutory body, and hence can be considered with the same sense of cooperation by the Centre as has been during the hearing of the petition.
The bench said that the suggestions which have been made by the DCPCR would undoubtedly require the involvement of application of mind and domain knowledge by experts in the area and the court may not be in the best position to make decisions unaided by an expert determination.
With PTI Inputs