Symbiosis Society assures high court to allow unvaccinated staff to resume work

MUMBAI: Pune-based Symbiosis Society on Friday assured the Bombay high court that it will allow their unvaccinated employees, who had been sent on unpaid leave till they get fully vaccinated, to resume their work.

The assurance came in response to a petition filed by an employee who had moved high court, challenging January 2022 notice by the institute, asking unvaccinated employees to go on unpaid leave till they produced evidence of complying with vaccination norms.

The employee challenged the notice saying that the institute cannot make vaccination mandatory, especially when he was unable to take the vaccine due to personal health issues.

In light of the recent ruling in which the Supreme Court held that vaccination cannot be made mandatory, the high court directed the institute to allow the petitioner employee to resume work and also reimburse his dues. The institute then submitted that it will review its policy and allow the unvaccinated employees to resume work and also consider reimbursing the petitioner.

The division bench of justice A K Menon and justice Nitin Borkar was hearing the petition filed by Subrata Mazumdar who works as a supervisor in the Symbiosis Centre for International Education (SCIE) located at Lavale in Mulshi tehsil of Pune district. Her counsels, advocates Animesh Jadhav, Vasant Kumar Takke and Shreekrishna More, submitted that the notice violated her fundamental right and hence should be declared illegal.

According to the petition, Mazumdar and other employees of the institute had received notices through email asking the employees who are not vaccinated to go on unpaid leave till they produced documentary evidence of vaccination. The petition added that the petitioner had replied to the email, saying that he was unable to get vaccinated due to personal health problems, but he did not receive any response, prompting him to approach the high court.

In the previous hearing on May 11, the bench asked the institute to reply to the petition.

On Friday, the institute filed a written statement through advocate Ravi Bharadwaj wherein it said that in the light of the recent Supreme Court ruling, it would review its policy which made vaccination mandatory and conditional for continuation of service. The institute further submitted that it will reinstate the employee and also abide by any other directions issued by the court.

Thereafter the bench granted liberty to the institute to review its policy and pass further orders to allow unvaccinated employees to resume work and reimburse the petitioner’s dues. The court also directed the institute to pass orders for dealing with the question of compensation from the month of January till date.

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