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Covishield vax death case: Bombay HC issues notices to Centre, Bill Gates, SII

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The Bombay High Court has issued notices to the Serum Institute of India (SII), Pune, Microsoft founder Bill Gates and the Centre in a case filed by an Aurangabad man alleging that his medico daughter died due to the side-effects of the Covishield vaccine and sought Rs 1,000-crore as compensation.

The petitioner is Dilip Lunawat, who has contended that his daughter Snehal Lunawat, 33, who was also a Senior Lecturer at the SMBT Dental College & Hospital in Nashik, was compelled to take the vaccine along with all other healthworkers there.

Dilip Lunawat said that his daughter was assured that the vaccines were completely safe and posed no risks/threats to her body, and attached his daughter vaccine certificate (January 28, 2021), and how she died on March 1, 2021, due to the alleged side-effects of the Covishield vaccine.

A few days later, she suffered severe headaches and vomiting and was rushed to a hospital where doctors detected bleeding in her brain and she later succumbed owing to the purported aside-effects of the vaccine’, as per Lunawat’s plea.

He also cited the views and interviews of experts like the Drug Controller-General of India, Dr. V.G. Somani, and AIIMS Director Dr. Randeep Guleria, making them respondents along with the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, and how the incident figured in the Centre’s own Adverse Events Following Immunisation Report of October 2, 2021.

In his petition filed in February 2022, Dilip Lunawat said that in 2020, the SII, Pune entered into a partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to speed up the process of manufacture and delivery of upto 100 million doses of Covishield vaccines in India and for other third world countries.

“The petitioner lost his elder daughter. His loss can neither be explained in words nor can be compensated in terms of money.

Only some sort of succour can be done by awarding compensation,” said the plea, seeking Rs 1,000crore as interim compensation to the family.

Dilip Lunawat also sought a declaration that the state authorities are responsible for causing his daughter’s death “by false narratives”, the authorities should initiate steps to stop further deaths of citizens and publish the side-effects of the vaccines.

The plea urged that the state authorities should be given the liberty to recover the compensation amount from SII, which manufactured the Covishield vaccine.

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‘Violates right to privacy, invasive to physical autonomy’, SC on DNA testing of two children

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The Supreme Court recently set aside the Telangana High Court order permitting DNA testing to determine the paternity of two children in a matrimonial dispute, holding such a direction would be invasive to the physical autonomy of a person and also violate the right to privacy.

A bench of Justices Aniruddha Bose and Vikram Nath said: “The trial court as also the revisional court had completely ignored the said factor and proceeded as if the children were material objects who could be sent for forensic analysis.”

It noted that the substance of the complaint was not related to paternity of the children of the mother, who claimed she had been forced to cohabit and develop a physical relationship with her brother-in-law, in a dowry harassment case with her husband and his brother.

The woman had lodged a complaint against her husband and his brother under Sections 498A, 323, and 354 and other ancillary provisions of the Indian Penal Code, 1860.

The top court noted that the trial court allowed the woman’s application mechanically, on the premise that the DNA fingerprint test is permissible under the law. It said that both the trial and the high court ignored that the paternity of the children was not in question in the subject-proceedings.

It further added that merely because something is permissible under the law cannot be directed as a matter of course to be performed particularly when a direction to that effect would be invasive to the physical autonomy of a person.

The bench said: “The consequence thereof would not be confined to the question as to whether such an order would result in testimonial compulsion, but encompasses right to privacy as well. Such direction would violate the privacy right of the persons subjected to such tests and could be prejudicial to the future of the two children who were also sought to be brought within the ambit of the trial court’s direction.”

In February 2017, the high court had ordered a DNA test on the claim made by the mother of two children. The woman had filed an application under Section 45 of the Indian Evidence Act with the appeal seeking direction to obtain an expert opinion for the DNA fingerprint test comparing blood samples of her two daughters. The trial court allowed her plea, which was challenged by her husband and his brother before the high court. The high court held that such a DNA fingerprint test was permitted under Sections 53, 53A and 54 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC).A

Setting aside the high court order, the top court said: “The judgment under appeal, blood sampling of the children was directed, who were not parties to the proceeding nor were their status required to be examined in the complaint of the respondent no.2. This raised doubt on their legitimacy of being borne to legally wedded parents and such directions, if carried out, have the potential of exposing them to inheritance related complication.”

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Ghaziabad gang rape case: DCW writes to UP CM, demands high-level inquiry

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 The Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) Chief Swati Maliwal on Saturday wrote a letter to Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, demanding a high-level inquiry and also setting up a high-level committee into the gang rape of a 38-year-old woman in Ghaziabad district.

Earlier on Wednesday, the DCW had issued a notice to the Ghaziabad’s Senior Superintendent of Police over the matter.

The victim from Nandnagari, Delhi, and had gone to Ghaziabad for her brother’s birthday celebration on October 16. While she was returning in the evening, while waiting for an auto, four people gang raped her in a car. They took the victim to an unknown location, where one more person was present. The accused brutally gang raped and tortured her for two days and inserted an iron rod in her private parts. Thereafter they hid her in a jute bag, tied up her arms and legs and threw her out on the road, the DCW said.

The DCW Chief in her letter has urged that an inquiry must be conducted to find out who caused injuries to the victim and who was responsible for inserting an iron rod-like object in her private parts, which was pulled out by the GTB Hospital in the national capital.

On the other hand, if it is proved beyond doubt that the girl was actively involved in conspiring against the accused men and she is not the victim but the perpetrator, then strict action should be taken against the woman under Section 182 of the IPC, Maliwal added.

She said, “The medico-legal examination (MLC) report of the woman from Ghaziabad indicates serious injuries. It said that she was tied with ropes, had bruises on her neck and thighs, was bleeding and a 5-6 cm iron rod was removed from her body. We (DCW) had issued a notice to the Uttar Pradesh Police over the matter. However, the Police claims that the case is false. This is quite “disturbing and shocking”.”

“Requested the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister to constitute a high-level committee to probe the matter. If it is indeed proved that the girl had registered a fake case to settle the property dispute, then strict action will be taken against her,” Maliwal added.

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Why right-wing majoritarian outfits not banned, asks Owaisi

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AIMIM president Asaduddin Owaisi on Wednesday said that the Centre’s ban on Popular Front of India (PFI) cannot be supported and asked the government why has it not banned right-wing majoritarian organisations.

The Hyderabad MP said while he has always opposed PFI’s approach and supported democratic approach, this ban on PFI cannot be supported.

The All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) president believes that a draconian ban of this kind is dangerous as it is a ban on any Muslim who wishes to speak his mind. “The way India’s electoral autarky is approaching fascism, every Muslim youth will now be arrested with a PFI pamphlet under India’s black law, UAPA,” tweeted Owaisi.

“How come PFI is banned but organisations associated with convicts of Khaja Ajmeri bomb blasts aren’t? Why has govt not banned right wing majoritarian organisations?,” he asked.

He said actions of some individuals who commit crime does not mean that the organisation itself must be banned. He pointed out that the Supreme Court has also held that mere association with an organisation is not enough to convict someone.

“Muslims have spent decades in prison before being acquitted by courts. I have opposed UAPA & will always oppose all actions under UAPA. It runs afoul the principle of liberty, which is part of basic structure of the constitution,” he wrote.

“We should remember that Congress amended UAPA to make it stringent & when BJP amended the law to make it even more draconian, Congress supported it This case will follow timeline of Kappan, where any activist or journalist is randomly arrested & takes 2 years to even get bail,” he added.

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