New Delhi: The Supreme Court Monday sought Centre’s response on a plea seeking revival of vaccine public sector units, to boost Covid-19 vaccination amid the pandemic.
A bench comprising Justices D.Y. Chandrachud and A.S. Bopanna said: “We want to know what the policy of the government is…”
The bench noted that Solicitor General Tushar Mehta wass appearing for the Centre and took note of his submissions that a reply will be filed by the government within four weeks.
Mehta requested the court not to issue notice in the matter, as the matter was in the policy domain, and a response will be filed on the petition. Senior advocate Colin Gonsalves appeared for the petitioners.
The bench said a rejoinder may be filed within three weeks thereafter by the petitioners. “List the matter after the pleadings are complete,” said the bench. Additional Solicitor General Aishwarya Bhati also appeared for the Centre.
The plea contended that PSUs should be granted “full autonomy” as envisaged in the Javid Chowdhary report of 2010 on vaccine production in the public sector units, to ensure their complete revival and smooth functioning in the future.
The apex court was hearing a plea filed by former IAS Amulya Ratna Nanda, All India Drug Action Network, Low-Cost Standard Therapeutics and Medico Friend Circle to grant functional autonomy to vaccine public sector units.
The plea contended that no PSUs should be excluded from producing any vaccine or from the government vaccine procurement, as long as quality and affordability are ensured.
The plea had also cited the top court’s order in 2016, where the government had agreed to take action to revive the PSUs.