Considering the current situation and the impact of the second wave of COVID-19, the Bombay High Court allowed Biovet Pvt. Ltd to operate in Pune to boost up the vaccine production and further directed the state to cooperate. A Bench of Justices KK Tated and NR Borkar issued interim directions to the Chief Conservator of Forests of Pune Division, Pune District Collector and Forest Department of Maharashtra to issue the license needed by Biovet to begin the production of life-saving drugs such as FMD vaccine and Covaxin.
On May 6 2021, the Bombay High Court addressed this interim application seeking direction to the State of Maharashtra to hand over the possession of vaccine manufacturing unit situated at village Manjari Khurd, Taluka Haveli, District Pune to the Biovet Pvt. Ltd in association with Bharat Biotech along with the necessary rights, duties and obligations to handle all the matters concerning the vaccine production resources. The application also sought the grant appropriate licenses/permissions/ NOCs for commencement of production.
The applicant stated that the Deputy Conservatory of Forests refused to permit it to operate the vaccination manufacturing unit. The applicant likewise presented that in India only three manufactures can produce the vaccine for COVID-19 and there is a need to extend the production unit to curb the shortage of vaccine.
Advocate General Ashutosh Kumbhakoni representing the state submitted that they will cooperate and issue all the required permits concerning the production of the vaccine but based on permission granted now Biovet could not claim equity. Biovet agreed and stated that they will utilize the manufacturing unit for producing Covaxin and not claim equity.
This interim application is allowed by the court considering that both parties are ready to cooperate and also the court made it clear that Biovet will not claim equity based on this permission during the hearing of the writ petition. HC also granted liberty to the state for the modification of this permission depending upon the pandemic condition in future.