Bombay High Court: The Division Bench of N.R.Borkar and K.K.Tated, JJ., directed State government to hand over the peaceful possession of the ready to use BSL-3 vaccine manufacturing unit, Pune from M/s. Intervet India Pvt. Ltd. to Biovet Pvt. Ltd. along with the requisite rights, responsibilities and obligations to deal with all the matters with respect to the vaccine manufacturing property.

The Applicants had sought directions to grant appropriate licenses/permissions/ NOCs in a time-bound manner to enable manufacture of FMD vaccine/ Covaxin against Covid-19 and other life saving vaccine on the said land and unit. The instant application had been filed pursuant to the order of Deputy Conservator of Forest, Pune, rejecting the application of the applicant to re-examine and review the order passed by the Assistant Conservator of Forest, Pune wherein, the applicant was denied approval to start manufacturing activities of Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) vaccine and vaccine for Covid-19 on the said manufacturing unit.

The applicant submitted that though the petition in the said matter is pending, it had approached the Court with interim application since the plant and machinery is lying idle because of the dispute between the Petitioners and the Respondent-State. It was submitted that   considering the present position of the Covid-19 it may be granted permission to start manufacturing of FMD vaccine and Covaxin, which is very useful in Covid-19 period.

The counsel for the State, Mr. Kumbhakoni had submitted that the State had no objection and the Applicant can use the said premises for manufacturing lifesaving vaccines including Covaxin used for Covid-19 without claiming any right, title and interest in respect of the said property. Further, the State assured to cooperate to the Applicants, for grant of any permission if required to start manufacturing activities and the same will be decided without wasting time, considering the present Covid-19 position in Maharashtra.

Considering the present position of Covid-19 and that the applicant is ready and willing to start manufacturing activities without prejudice to the rights and contentions of both the parties in the pending proceeding, the Bench allowed the interim application and the same was disposed of with following directions:

  • That pending the final disposal of the above petition, the Respondents shall handover peaceful possession of the ready to use BSL-3 vaccine manufacturing facilities and equipment therein from M/s. Intervet India Pvt. Ltd. to the applicant along with the requisite rights, responsibilities and obligations to deal with all matters with respect to this vaccine manufacturing property.
  • The State shall grant appropriate licenses/permissions/NOCs required to the Applicant in a time-bound manner to enable manufacture of FMD vaccine, Covaxin against Covid-19 & other lifesaving vaccines in the said plant on the said land.
  • The State shall permit the Applicant to carry out appropriate structural changes for enhancement & further scaling up of the manufacturing of lifesaving vaccines, including Covaxin to immediately utilize the maximum installed capacity.
  • The Applicants cannot claim any equity on the basis of this order at the time of hearing of writ petition.
  • All contentions of both the parties are kept open.

[Biovet Pvt. Ltd.  v. The Collector, 2021 SCC OnLine Bom 707, decided on 06-05-2021]

Kamini Sharma, Editorial Assistant has put this report together

Appearance before the Court by:

Counsels for the Applicant: R.D. Soni, Mr. Sujay Gawde and Shree & Co.

Counsels for the State: AG A.A. Kumbhakoni, GP P.P. Kakade, Akshay Shinde with  AGP R.M. Shinde

Counsels for the Respondent-9: Prathamesh Kamat, Zoeb Cuterwala, Vikram Kamat and Phoeni Legal

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