25 May 2021 2:01 PM GMT
Noting that Madhya Pradesh has not received even half of the promised quantity of the vaccination doses for the month of May 2021, the Madhya Pradesh High Court asked the Central Government: "To take upon itself the responsibility of providing required number of vaccination doses to the State by setting up more and more units in all the States with required licence from the...
Noting that Madhya Pradesh has not received even half of the promised quantity of the vaccination doses for the month of May 2021, the Madhya Pradesh High Court asked the Central Government:
"To take upon itself the responsibility of providing required number of vaccination doses to the State by setting up more and more units in all the States with required licence from the local manufacturers, to ramp up the production of the vaccination on war footing."
The Bench of Chief Justice Mohammad Rafiq and Justice Atul Sreedharan also asked the Central Government to itself consider procuring the vaccination doses in sufficient quantity from the manufacturers from outside the country to provide the same to the States, rather than leaving it upon the States to do so.
"Global Tenders by State Governments have failed to yield in positive result"
The State government informed the Madhya Pradesh High Court that since the local manufacturers are not able to supply the required doses of vaccine, the State Government is preparing to issue a global tender for purchase of 10 million single doses of the Covid-19 vaccine.
To this, counsel Siddharth Gupta submitted that 10 million doses of vaccine could hardly be sufficient to cater to the need of citizens above 18 years age group out of a total population of 73 million.
To this, the Court observed that the State Government should suitably increase the number of doses for procurement through the global tender based on the actual requirement, particularly when each person is required to be given two doses for complete vaccination.
Naman Nagrath, the Amicus Curiae also submitted that even though many orders have been issued for procurement of vaccine through global tender by different States, but there is no positive response from the manufacturers in the international market.
It was also submitted that the order dated April 15, 2021 issued by the Central Drugs and Standard Control Organization may prove to be a stumbling block for the major manufacturers to directly deal with the State Government as it has placed several restrictions before an outsider manufacturer is allowed to supply the vaccination for use by the different State Governments.
Having noted the submissions of the Counsels, the Court remarked,
"The global tender issued by the different State Governments have also failed to yield in positive result. Serious doubts have been raised whether such an exercise is likely to make sufficient quantity of vaccination doses available to the State within coming months."
Court's other observations
Taking into account the submission of the Advocate General, the Court noted that if the required number of vaccination doses will not be regularly supplied as per timeline provided by the Central Government and the local manufacturers, achieving the target of inoculating people by end of January 2022 would be a distant possibility.
To this, the Court said,
"In our considered opinion, the Central Government ought to reconsider the efficacy of its vaccination policy. So far as all major vaccinations in the country in the past have always been sponsored by the Central Government."
Lastly, the Court also noted that the country today is confronted by an unprecedented crisis situation like the one never seen before and that the Central Government should also consider the suggestion of the learned Amicus Curiae for relaxing the rigour of the order dated May 15, 2021 issued by the CDSCO.
Case title - In Reference (Suo Motu) vs. Union of India and others) [W.P. No.8914/2020]
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