The Delhi High Court on Monday said COVID-19 vaccine production by two companies in India is not enough and the Centre should expedite the process of clearing samples of Panacea Biotec, which has collaborated with the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) for manufacturing Sputnik V vaccine here.
A Bench of Justice Manmohan and Justice Najmi Waziri asked the Centre to ensure that in these extraordinary circumstances when vaccines are urgently needed for saving lives, the untapped potential in the country is not taken away by foreigners.
The Bench questioned the Centre for not processing Panacea’s case on priority as it was producing the same product which has been produced by the Russian company initially and asked as to what more was required to be done in this regard.
It termed as “disturbing” the Centre’s reply, filed in the case, saying the authorities were virtually saying they are not aware of what the firm has been doing and its relation with Sputnik.
Justice Manmohan, whose regular bench is with Justice Navin Chawla, said Justice Chawla was not sitting today as there is a death in his family due to COVID-19.
The court’s observations came while hearing a plea of Delhi-based Panacea Biotec which has sought the release of an arbitral award, passed in its favour and against the Centre, saying it needs funds at the earliest in the larger interest of humanity as it has already manufactured trial batches of COVID vaccine Sputnik V in collaboration with RDIF and the process of manufacturing scale-up batches is on.
The Bench said the Centre’s officers are required to show some sensitivity and urgency in the matter. The High Court will hear the case again on June 2.
This article was originally published on The Hindu