Calcutta High Court Accepts Plea Against Government Inaction in Funding COVID-19 Vaccines

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In the case of Kanishk Sinha v Harsh Vardhan & Ors., the petitioner filed a Public Interest Litigation seeking government funding for low-cost corona vaccines.

Facts of the Case

The petitioner tried to file a patent for an invention of a vaccine in the patent office. He tried to do it using the online getaway. There was an error on the website hence he could not file the application properly. As a result, he did not receive the patent. 

The petitioner needs to test his vaccine before it can be used on the public. However, he does not have enough funds to hire a private lab. He wanted a government lab with proper security and instruments/apparatus. 

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He also required blood samples or swab samples of the Covid-19 affected patients. Most importantly, he needs PPE kits for his research team. Hence, the petitioner needs government funding for his research work.

Arguments of the Petitioner 

The counsel highlighted that Mr Kanishk is a patent holder for various inventions. The Court had approved the said funding in its order on May 8th. Yet, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) refused to give it on May 11. He alleged that the ICMR has dissolved the COVID-19 vaccine research. 

The counsel challenged the inaction of the government authorities. He also asked for a full disclosure of details of the funds allotted. He asked the disclosure of the timeline, procedure, and projects by the Government. Additionally, he asked the current status and success rate of such projects. 

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He prayed for a hearing through video conferencing at the time of deciding the instant application. He submitted that it could be done through WhatsApp or Microsoft Team Application, whenever possible

Arguments of the Respondents 

The counsel submitted that the online application for the patent has been accepted. Hence, his petition is partly redressed. 

Further, the government could grant funding after the proper procedure. He asked the petitioner to file an application in the appropriate department for it. 

Court’s Observation

The Court observed that the actions of the respondents were illegal and malafide. It stated that Article 21 protected the rights of the petitioner. By refusing to allow the vaccine, the respondent had caused harm to society. 

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The Court also directed the respondent to rescind the order letter issued on 435/Legal Cell/2020, this letter had refused the payment for research to the petitioner. Further, the Court condemned the conduct of ICMR and said that research was for the greater good of society.

As a result, the Court directed the respondents to grant funding for research.


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