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Center to SC on Vaccine Policy: No Judicial Interference Needed, Trust Executive Wisdom | India News


NEW DELHI: In a late night affidavit filed at the Supreme Court, the Center defended its vaccination policy against Covid, which has been criticized for the difference in prices, the shortage of doses and the slow implementation.
The Center added that the price factor will not have any impact on the final beneficiary, that is, the eligible person who receives the vaccine, as all state governments have already declared their policy decision that each state will administer the vaccine to its residents. , without cost.

Urging against judicial interference in its vaccine policy, the Center’s Sunday night affidavit read: “Any overly enthusiastic, even well-intentioned, judicial intervention can have unforeseen and unintended consequences, in the absence of expert advice or administrative experience. , leaving doctors, expert scientists and executive very little room to find innovative solutions on the fly. ”
The Center said that it is very respectfully presented that in times of such serious and unprecedented crisis in which the nation is fighting a disaster of unprecedented magnitude, the executive functioning of the government needs discretion to formulate policies of greater interest.

“It is proposed that in view of the unprecedented and peculiar circumstances in which the vaccination campaign is conceived as an executive policy, the wisdom of the executive must be trusted,” said the affidavit.
The affidavit said with a view to ensuring that there is no disparity between the states inter-se, with the Center’s active consultation with both manufacturers, the central government it has successfully set a uniform price to be paid by all state governments.
In defense of its vaccine policy, the affidavit read: “The policy is framed as above, which is fair, equitable, non-discriminatory and is based on an intelligible differentiating factor between the two age groups (45 years or less) “.

The affidavit added: “Therefore, this policy is in accordance with the mandate of Article 14 and Article 21 of the Constitution of India and is made after several rounds of consultation and discussion with experts, state government and the vaccine manufacturers do not require interference from this Court, since while facing a pandemic of this magnitude, the Executive has a space for free play in the joints, in the broader public interest. ”
The Center said the policy was framed taking into account the limited availability of vaccines, the vulnerability of age groups and the fact that it was not possible to vaccinate the entire country in one go due to the suddenness of the pandemic, such as the main considerations.

The Center emphasized that the price of the vaccine is guaranteed not only reasonable but uniform throughout the country, eliminating any possibility that a citizen of a state will receive the vaccine at a higher price compared to a resident in a similar situation. residing in another state.
“Due to the consultations and” persuasion “of the Central Government both the vaccine manufacturers, Bharat Biotech and SII, have declared their respective prices which are uniform for all the governments of the States ”, adds the affidavit.
A bench of judges DY Chandrachud, L. Nageswara Rao and S. Ravindra Bhat will address the matter arising from a suo motu case later on Monday.
The affidavit added that the new ‘Accelerated National Covid-19 Vaccination Strategy and Liberalized Prices would further accelerate the pace of Covid-19 vaccination.’
“Its goal is to liberalize vaccine prices and expand vaccine coverage to incentivize vaccine manufacturers to rapidly increase production and attract new vaccine manufacturers. It would make vaccine pricing, procurement, and administration more flexible and would guarantee a greater production of vaccines, as well as greater availability of vaccines in the country, ”says the affidavit.
The Center stated that two vaccines are currently part of the vaccination campaign since January 2021. Another Covid-19 vaccine, Sputnik V developed by the Gamaleya Institute, Russia and distributed in association with Dr. Reddy Laboratories, has received Authorization from Emergency Use by the National Regulator in April 2021 and would be available now. Many other candidates are in the late stages of clinical trials and therefore are expected to receive the necessary 50 approvals that would further increase vaccine availability.
On April 30, the high court, while hearing a suo moto matter regarding Covid-19 management issues, had asked for the Center’s vaccine policy to be reviewed. The highest court had indicated that the way in which the current policy has been framed would be prima facie to the detriment of the right to public health, which is an integral element of Article 21 of the Constitution.
“Sometimes the measures taken to meet immediate needs, to overcome an impending crisis, can be reckless in the long term. However, they must be appreciated, understood and recognized, taking into account the complete strategy and policy and holistic picture. of immediate, medium and long-term needs, while preserving the ability to remain dynamic to cope with a constantly mutating virus, the exact graph of which cannot be predicted with precision and the continuous improvement of the body of knowledge with more experience and investigation. “the affidavit added.
The Center said that both manufacturers (one, an Indian company and the second, a licensee of a British company) have taken a financial risk in developing and manufacturing these vaccines and that it is prudent to make pricing decisions through negotiations in an advisory process. transparent that upholds legal provisions as a last resort in current circumstances.

Times of India