Symbiosis International deemed-to-be university in Pune, has ordered all faculty members who have not been vaccinated against COVID-19 to take unpaid leave and return only when fully vaccinated. Now, according to a report by Bar and Bench, an employee of the varsity appealed to the Bombay High Court to take action against the university’s decision.

Subrata Mazumdar, a supervisor at Symbiosis for over a decade, asked the Court in his petition to declare the email sent by his employer unconstitutional and illegal. He also sought that he be reinstated and paid for the losses he suffered as a result of their conduct. The petition claims that the university’s conduct breached the employees’ fundamental rights under the constitution’s Article 14 (right to equality) and Article 21 (right to life and personal liberty).

All of this began in May 2021, when Mazumdar received an email from Vidya Yeravdekar, the principal director of Symbiosis Society, requesting staff’s vaccination status and compliance with Covid-19 requirements. Mazumdar responded to the email, stating that he was unable to get vaccinated owing to personal health issues. However, in January of this year, each employee, including the petitioner, got an email from the university’s human resources department instructing them to take immediate leave without pay to get completely vaccinated.

Dissatisfied with this the petitioner brought the case against Yeravdekar, Dr. Bhama Venkatramani, Dean of Administration and Academics, and the Symbiosis Centre for International Education (SCIE). The petition was filed by lawyers Krishna More, Animesh Jadhav, and Vasant Takke before the Vacation Bench of Justices AK Menon and NR Borkar. The bench has decided to keep the next hearing of the case on May 13.

Mazumdar also informed the Court that, although being unvaccinated, he and his family members had not yet been infected with COVID, whereas several of his vaccinated coworkers had. He said that the email was issued in violation of the Central Government’s vaccination policy, which states that vaccination is optional for beneficiaries.

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