27 yrs exp. Teacher discriminated for his disability to take the COVID 19 vaccination!

27 yrs exp. Teacher discriminated for his disability to take the COVID 19 vaccination!

15 August 2022
Petition to
Himanshu Gupta (Directorate of Education, GNCT of Delhi)
This petition made change with 9,815 supporters!

Why this petition matters

Started by Yash Bhargava

Medical certificates

School Letter

The case: The COVID19 pandemic hit all of us two years ago, but some of us disproportionately than others. Such is the case of Mr. R.S Bhargava, PGT Chemistry at DPS RK Puram, New Delhi, who has a stellar teaching experience of over 27 years, but has now been forced to go on leave since November 2021 by the school authorities due to his inability to get vaccinated for COVID19 owing to his medical complications. 
The unilateral and unjust actions by higher authorities have not only burnt a hole in his family’s pockets, as the forced leave has been without pay, but has also resulted in terrible mental anguish. After diligently committing his services for such a long leg of his life, he has been separated from his students and his passion to educate, at an age of 57, where he looks forward to bringing a glorious career to its fruitful end. Against this backdrop, he has not only been unfairly abandoned by DPS RK Puram, but has in fact, been at the receiving end of malintent by certain superiors. 
Mr. Bhargava is a cancer survivor, a patient of type two diabetes, and has a proven medical history of allergic reactions to multiple pharmaceutical drugs, all of which sufficiently point to an altered immune response to vaccines. Based on four medical opinions from certified professionals (including reputed practitioners at AIIMS), the risks of vaccination in his case potentially outweigh the benefits. (Certificates attached)

Medical History: Mr. R.S Bhargava was diagnosed with AITCL (Angio-immunoblastic T-Cell Lymphoma with involvement of B-Cell) in 2017, following which he underwent chemotherapy at AIIMS New Delhi. The prolonged treatment, combined with the cancer that directly affects one’s immune system, make him immunocompromised. Even during the treatment, he suffered multiple allergic reactions to drugs, all of which required close and careful monitoring round the clock. 

Medical Exemption Issued: Although he recovered well and came back with the same spirit to resume his duties as a teacher at DPS RK Puram soon after, yet today, 4.5 years later, he stands at a juncture where he has been discriminated against on the basis of his disability to take the vaccination (which was reiterated by Delhi High Court’s Justice Yogesh Khanna). This comes despite the fact that he was issued a medical exemption from the Directorate of Education on October 26, 2021, based on the very certificates and medical records discussed above. However, this sigh of relief remained short lived after the exemption was unilaterally withdrawn after two days, without a hearing. 

Delhi High Court: At the fragile age of 57, despite having a proven track record of excellence in his career, he has been forced to run from pillar to post for over 10 months, where he faces financial, social, emotional, and physical hardships. The situation turned so dire that he was forced to approach the Delhi High Court under a writ petition in February 2022, for a violation of his fundamental rights, wherein the orders impact his right to live with dignity and right to livelihood, guaranteed by the Constitution of India under Article 21. All Judges hearing the case have so far agreed that the salary cannot and must not be withheld, as that would amount to unjust discrimination against Mr. Bhargava based on his medical condition. 

Coercive actions by DPS: The executive authorities have failed to show any empathy, sympathy, or compassion to his medical condition, and have used all means of threats available at their disposal to coerce him into taking the vaccine (including withholding his salary vide order No. PS/DE/2021/278), which shall evidently cause him irreparable loss as attested by multiple medical certificates. This is not only inhumane, but also illegal. Furthermore, even the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare’s own guidelines, and an affidavit submitted in court, advises patients with proven allergic reactions to avoid taking the vaccine and seek expert medical opinion for the same. 

COVID-Appropriate Behavior: It may be pertinent here to note, that the continued spread of the virus despite high rates of vaccination in the country is indicative that while the vaccine has immense benefits to offer in building one’s immunity, it has not been proven to arrest the spread of infections. At such a time, Mr. Bhargava remains as vulnerable as those vaccinated, if not more, and hence, has been advised to follow all COVID19 appropriate protocols such as masking, sanitization, maintaining comfortable distances, etc., all of which he has strictly adhered to since the pandemic hit us, which is evident in the fact that he has protected himself from getting infected in over 2.5 years. Moreover, all of these directions can be easily followed on school premises, only when there is a will to accommodate his condition by the concerned authorities. 

Online Learning: Additionally, throughout the online mode of education, Mr. Bhargava has been at the top of his game, and has received great feedback from his mentees in delivering quality lessons. But today, even when the school functions in the online mode on select days, Mr. Bhargava has been refused classes. These decisions are arbitrary and signal malintent in depriving an honest, sincere, and hardworking employee his fair share of respect and dignity.

Relief remains Elusive: All of Mr. Bhargava’s current and ex-students would unequivocally vouch for the knowledge, skill set, and quality he delivers in his lessons. Many of his students have achieved great heights in their lives under his guidance. But most importantly, teaching is not only his profession, but also his passion. As his friends, relatives, well-wishers, let us all hope that justice is soon delivered, and 27 years of a splendid career is put to good use in maintaining the quality of education in the country, even as his family continues to battle the case in Delhi High Court to this date.   


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Decision Makers

  • Himanshu GuptaDirectorate of Education, GNCT of Delhi