The Supreme Court has directed the Centre to furnish complete data on its purchase history of all COVID vaccines including Covaxin, Covishield and Sputnik V. The order comes in light of the top court's concern over the Centre's vaccine policy.
The SC said that the affidavit must clarify: (a) the dates of all procurement orders placed by the Central government for all 3 vaccines; (b) the quantity of vaccines ordered as on each date; and (c) the projected date of supply.
The directive comes after the Supreme Court repeatedly asked the Centre to rethink its vaccine policy. The Centre in its May 31 order further directed the Centre to furnish data on the percentage of the population that has been vaccinated (with one dose and both doses), as against eligible persons in the first three phases of the vaccination drive. This shall include data pertaining to the percentage of the rural population as well as the percentage of the urban population so vaccinated.
"An outline for how and when the Central Government seeks to vaccinate the remaining population in phases 1, 2 and 3," the top court's order read.
The SC also said that while filing its affidavit, the Centre shall also submit copies of all the relevant documents and file notings, reflecting its thinking that culminated in the vaccination policy.
The direction came after a detailed hearing on May 31 during which it had asked the Centre to explain its rationale behind its policy to procure vaccines and the dual pricing for the same.
The Centre had defended its vaccine policy which allows the two vaccine manufacturers—Bharat Biotech (Covaxin) and Serum Institute of India (Covishield) to determine vaccine prices for the Centre, States and other private entities. The policy also mandates that the Centre will get 50% of the vaccines manufactured, while 25% will go to the states and 25% to private entitles.
The Supreme Court on April 21 had constituted a suo motu case based on issues arising out of the second covid wave. On May 31, the top court had asked the Centre to "wake and smell the coffee" on the ground realities of how its policy is affecting the citizens in India. ON May 3, the top court had observed that the Centre should consider revisiting its vaccine policy.