Following the Supreme Court’s instruction and support of state High Courts, the Centre filed an affidavit as instructed. The 218-page document filed Sunday night was received by the Bench on Monday. The Special Bench comprising Justices L.N. Rao and S. Ravindra Bhat led by Justice D.Y Chandrachud, has since adjourned the hearing to Thursday.
Reverting to the apex court’s questions on the varying prices of COVID-19 vaccines, shortage of doses and unpreparedness for rollout, the centre condemned the judiciary’s intervention in the absence of executive experience. “In the context of a global pandemic, where response and strategy of the nation are completely driven by expert medical and scientific opinion, there is little room for judicial interference. Any overzealous, though well-meaning, judicial intervention may lead to unforeseen and unintended consequences,” reported NDTV.
However, these justifications do not explain the vast difference between the prices at which both vaccines – Covishield and Covaxin – are available to the centre and the state.
The centre stated that simplified procedures hereon would allow India to obtain foreign vaccines approved by recognised international organisations like the US FDA, World Health Organisation, the UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency and the EU European Medicines Agency, accelerating role distribution. The centre upheld each decision, remarking that the “wisdom of the executive should be trusted”.
It remains unclear why the United Nations to help was rejected, and why Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine with proven efficacy remains inaccessible to the country. The affidavit provided no further clarification on the emergency approval and possible availability of the oral anti-COVID drug developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation.
The Special Bench comprising Justices L.N. Rao and S. Ravindra Bhat led by Justice D.Y Chandrachud, has since adjourned the hearing to Thursday, citing technical problems with their server.