Bombay High Court permits fully vaccinated Goan residents.


Bombay HC| Sameera Siddiqui | Social Thikana

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Bombay HC permits fully- vaccinated Goan residents ,workforce to enter Goa without covid negative report 

The Court also sought a clarification from the State on whether it was planning to seek permission from the Court to allow entry of tourists into the State. The Bombay High Court at Goa on Monday permitted fully vaccinated workforce and residents of Goa to enter Goa with COVID vaccine certificates even in the absence of a COVID-19 negative certificate till first week of August 2021(South Goa Advocates' Association (SGAA) & Ors. v. State of Goa & Ors.) More specifically, the Bench of Justices MS Sonak and MS Jawalkar allowed the following category of persons (fully vaccinated and without COVID negative report) to enter the State: The workforce, ie. persons who enter the State of Goa for purposes of work in industries, labour force, construction, etc; The people who enter Goa for purposes of business; Residents of Goa who are now stranded outside Goa for the pandemic related or other such issues; Residents of Goa who are required to travel for work, medical reasons, outside the state and return back after a few days; Citing the minutes of the meeting held by the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (NTAGI), the Court specified that fully vaccinated meant that it should be two or more weeks since the beneficiary received the final dose of the recommended schedule of vaccine and such person should be asymptomatic. The Court was hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by South Goa Advocates' Association (SGAA) seeking various prayers connected with COVID-19 management in the State.Monday's order granting ad-interim relief was passed in an application filed by the State of Goa seeking modification of the order passed by the High Court on May 6, 2021 By way of that order, the Court had directed the Goa government to ensure that no person is allowed entry into the State without a COVID-19 negative certificate obtained within 72 hours before entering the State. permitted fully vaccinated workforce and residents of Goa to enter Goa with COVID vaccine certificates even in the absence of a COVID-19 negative certificate till first week of August 2021(South Goa Advocates' Association (SGAA) & Ors. v. State of Goa & Ors.) More specifically, the Bench of Justices MS Sonak and MS Jawalkar allowed the following category of persons (fully vaccinated and without COVID negative report) to enter the State: The workforce, ie. persons who enter the State of Goa for purposes of work in industries, labour force, construction, etc; The people who enter Goa for purposes of business; Residents of Goa who are now stranded outside Goa for the pandemic related or other such issues; Residents of Goa who are required to travel for work, medical reasons, outside the state and return back after a few days; Citing the minutes of the meeting held by the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (NTAGI), the Court specified that fully vaccinated meant that it should be two or more weeks since the beneficiary received the final dose of the recommended schedule of vaccine and such person should be asymptomatic. The Court was hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by South Goa Advocates' Association (SGAA) seeking various prayers connected with COVID-19 management in the State. Monday's order granting ad-interim relief was passed in an application filed by the State of Goa seeking modification of the order passed by the High Court on May 6, 2021 By way of that order, the Court had directed the Goa government to ensure that no person is allowed entry into the State without a COVID-19 negative certificate obtained within 72 hours before entering the State. The Bench after granting interim relief on Monday posted the matter for further consideration on August 5, 2021. The Court also sought the following details from the respondents: Clarification by State government on whether it is also seeking entry of tourists in the State without COVID negativity certificate. Details from the Central government on any future protocol it may come up for granting of permissions to fully vaccinated persons entering the State for tourism purposes. The State government submitted in its application that the COVID-19 situation in Goa has substantially improved, with only 195 active cases as on July 6, 2021. The present situation is in stark contrast to the situation prevailing before the May 6, 2021 order was passed, Advocate General Devidas J Pangam pointed out. He also referred to two expert committee reports which opined that the domestic travellers could be permitted to enter the State without COVID-19 negative certificate provided such persons have the final vaccination certificate. Advocate Akash Rebello, appearing for the petitioners, clarified at the outset that if the State is only seeking permission of entry for work-related purposes, they had no objection as it was a reasonable request. They submitted that if the permission is being sought for tourism purposes then they are opposing the request on the ground that the State is required to take preventive measure to avoid a possible third wave. They also pointed out that the variant of the COVID virus, found in Maharashtra had not been found in Goa as on date. However, Chief Minister Pramod Sawant had stated that the borders will continue to be checked to ensure the variant does not enter Goa. Even Maharashtra and Karnataka have not relaxed anything on the borders so far, the petitioners submitted. Assistant Solicitor General Pravin N Faldessai stated that the State was perhaps adopting a correct policy by seeking a limited exemption at this stage. On the other hand, the policy for opening borders was best considered in a deferred manner, he cautioned. The Court opined that a limited modification of the order to include the specific category of fully vaccinated persons could be granted for a limited time. It also said that by permitting the entry of limited people, the State could also experiment and find out how their request is working out or not. Accordingly, the May 6 order was modified by the Court. Rebello along with advocates Rui Gomes Pereira and Varun Bhandanker appeared for the petitioners.


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