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'Policy Matter': Rajasthan High Court Dismisses Plea For Compulsory Licensing Of Covid Vaccine

Akshita Saxena
1 July 2021 5:54 AM GMT
Policy Matter: Rajasthan High Court Dismisses Plea For Compulsory Licensing Of Covid Vaccine
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The Jaipur Bench of the Rajasthan High Court has dismissed a PIL seeking compulsory licensing of Covid-19 vaccines under the Patents Act. A Division Bench of Justices Sabina and Manoj Kumar Vyas observed that the same is a policy matter that has to be decided by the executive and the Courts need not interfere in it. Concerned by shortage of vaccines in the State, the...

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The Jaipur Bench of the Rajasthan High Court has dismissed a PIL seeking compulsory licensing of Covid-19 vaccines under the Patents Act.

A Division Bench of Justices Sabina and Manoj Kumar Vyas observed that the same is a policy matter that has to be decided by the executive and the Courts need not interfere in it.

Concerned by shortage of vaccines in the State, the Petitioners had moved the High Court. They sought disclosure of the Government's plans with respect to increasing production capacities of vaccines of private and public sector units.

They urged that the Central Government be directed to issue compulsory licence for vaccines under Section 92 of the Patents Act. It was further urged that the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) be directed to share the trade secrets related to manufacturing process of vaccines to scale up the production of vaccines.

The Petitioner also suggested that the Centre may identify potential state-owned vaccine manufacturers to avert the shortage of vaccines.

However, the Court observed,

"After hearing petitioner No. 2, we are of the opinion that no ground for interference while exercising extraordinary writ jurisdiction, is made out as the issue involved in the present case relates to a policy decision to be taken by the respondents. Dismissed."

Last month, the Kerala High Court sought response from the Centre on similar plea seeking invocation of compulsory licensing to allow capable vaccine manufacturers to manufacture COVID-19 vaccines in the wake of the second wave of infections.

A similar query was also put by the Supreme Court, responding to which the Central Government said that it is engaging in diplomatic level talks with other nations for procurement of vaccines and medicines, and any discussion on exercise of statutory powers under Patents Act will be counter-productive at this stage.

Case Title: Mallika Singh & Anr. v. Union Of India & Anr.

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