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"Vaccine Shortage Hitting Everybody": Delhi High Court Directs Centre To Release 14 Crores To Panacea Biotech For Manufacturing Sputnik-V Vaccine

Nupur Thapliyal
4 Jun 2021 12:27 PM GMT
Vaccine Shortage Hitting Everybody: Delhi High Court Directs Centre To Release 14 Crores To Panacea Biotech For Manufacturing Sputnik-V Vaccine
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The Delhi High Court on Friday directed the Centre to release an amount of 14 Crores along with the interest of 12% to Panacea Biotech for manufacturing Sputnik V subject to the condition of receiving permission from respective authorities to manufacture it in India.A division bench comprising of Justice Manmohan and Justice Najmi Waziri ordered thus:"The release is also subject to...

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The Delhi High Court on Friday directed the Centre to release an amount of 14 Crores along with the interest of 12% to Panacea Biotech for manufacturing Sputnik V subject to the condition of receiving permission from respective authorities to manufacture it in India.

A division bench comprising of Justice Manmohan and Justice Najmi Waziri ordered thus:

"The release is also subject to the undertaking given by Panacea Biotec that 20 per cent of the sale proceeds will be deposited by it with High Court Registry."

The development came in a application filed by Panacea Biotech seeking release of an arbitral award passed earlier in its favour.

It was thus stated by Panacea that it had manufactured trial batches of COVID-19 vaccine Sputnik V in collaboration with Russian Direct Investment Fund (for short 'RDIF') and the process of manufacturing scale-up batches is on.

Therefore, it was further averred that if the awarded amount is not released the Centre, the whole process of manufacturing of vaccine may get derailed and delayed which will not be in the larger interest of the country.

While the Court allowed the petition, the Bench also noted that "it will not be an exaggeration today that human race in general facing an existential crisis."

"Though according to Government of India, all best ways to vaccinate the public has been made. Yet there is a shortage of vaccine in India." The Court observed at the outset.

The Court, while expressing anguish about the way things have transpired in the wake of second Covid wave, observed thus:

"We are a bit anguished with the way things have transpired during the second wave. Vaccine shortage is hitting everybody."

During the previous course of hearing, while remarking that some people must be charged with manslaughter if they have been sitting over untapped potential, the Court had pulled up the Centre for not utilising the vaccine manufacturing capacity that India has.

"There is a lot of scope and infrastructure which is available for manufacturing of vaccines. This untapped potential has to be utilised. Your officers are not realising this." The Court had said.

Stating that there is a public emergency in India, the bench also went ahead to opine that hand holding of of manufacturing vaccines is the need of the hour which is not happening due to a "fear psychosis" of vigilance enquiry, audits and other police investigation.

The court had also quizzed the Centre as to why a test was required for a vaccine which is being manufactured in India when there are exemptions from bridging trials provided for the ones being imported from outside India.

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