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Employee List for Unvaccinated Staffs of a Company Not a Privacy Violation: Madras High Court

Last Updated on February 11, 2024 by News Desk

The Madras High Court has ruled that a company preparing a list of employees who have not been vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus will not amount to a violation of privacy and cannot be booked under the Information Technology (IT) Act.

Justice N. Anand Venkatesh observed this during quashing a case against telecom giant Bharti Airtel and its officials for preparing a list of employees who were not vaccinated against COVID-19. The court stated that the company was only following up with its employees to ensure they got vaccinated and took preventive measures to safeguard themselves from the Corona virus attack.

The court was seized of a petition filed by Bharti Airtel through its officials seeking to quash the summons and other proceedings pending before a judicial magistrate in Udumalpet.

The proceedings were initiated on a private complaint lodged by Kamatci Shankar Arumugam, an employee of the company, who claimed that his privacy was invaded by the company and its officials by the unauthorised circulation of his personal data among other employees.The court noted that

The data in question was a list of employees of Bharti Airtel who were not vaccinated against COVID-19. The Magistrate took cognizance of the complaint and issued summons to the company officials in February 2022.

The Supreme Court has already held that no one can be forced to vaccinate themselves, as such a compulsion would result in an infringement of the bodily integrity and personal autonomy of an individual.

The court also noted that the employee’s service was terminated by the company for his unauthorised absence, and his complaint was filed only later against the company and its officers.

The court concluded that the private complaint filed by the respondent against the company and its officers is a clear abuse or process of court, which requires the interference of this court.

Case Title: Gopal Vittal vs Kamatci Shankar Arumugam

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