The Centre on Monday refuted the argument by advocate Prashant Bhushan that people are losing their jobs and ration allegedly due to the Covid-19 vaccine mandates issued by various state governments.

At the outset, Bhushan, appearing for the petitioner Jacob Puliyel, a former member of the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation, contended before a bench headed by Justice L. Nageswara Rao and comprising Justice B.R. Gavai, that people are losing their jobs due to vaccine mandates issued by several state governments.

"What is urgent is the vaccine mandate because people are losing their jobs. They are losing their rations," Bhushan said, arguing that people are not able to move around freely due to these vaccine mandates.

Opposing this argument, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the Centre, submitted that nobody is losing jobs due to non-vaccination.

"Nobody is losing anything and nobody has come before your lordships," he told the bench, which is hearing a matter involving issues in connection with disclosure of data on clinical trials of Covid-19 vaccines and vaccine mandates.

Bhushan had filed an intervention application in the main petition, claiming people are losing jobs due to these mandates.

The bench told Bhushan that there are various situations in connection with vaccines that can be brought before the court, and it cannot handle all the situations.

It further added that high courts can also examine some issues.

Bhushan submitted there is evidence to establish that if a person had the infection, his or her protection from the infection is far superior than any vaccination.

He argued that vaccine mandates are restricting the fundamental rights of the citizens, and added, it is the fundamental right of an individual to decide whether he wants vaccination, while clarifying that he was not arguing that the vaccine mandate cannot be issued at all.

After hearing arguments, the top court said it will list the matter for final hearing.

In August, last year, the top court had asked the Centre, Bharat Biotech, Serum Institute of India (SII) and others for their reply on the plea seeking directions for disclosure of data on clinical trials of vaccines and also on post-jab cases.