Two days before the start of the third phase of vaccination drive for all those in the 18-44 years age group, the Rajasthan High Court on Thursday issued a show cause notice to the Centre, the state government and two vaccine manufacturers — the Serum Institute and Bharat Biotech — questioning them on why different rates are being fixed for one vaccine.
A bench of Justice Sabina issued the notice on the PIL filed by journalist Mukesh Sharma. The next hearing is scheduled on May 12.
Advocate Abhay Bhandari, appearing for the petitioner, said that three rates have been fixed for one vaccine across the nation. While the Central government will get the Covishield and Covaxin vaccine at Rs 150 each, the state government shall receive Covishield for Rs 300 and Covaxin for Rs 600, while private hospitals shall get Covishield and Covaxin for Rs 600 and Rs 1,200, respectively.
This is a clear violation of Article 14 and 21 of the Constitution by the Central government and private companies, he argued.
The petition said that the Union Budget had a clear provision of Rs 35,000 crore for corona vaccinations. Also PM Cares had an estimated fund collection of Rs 900 to 1,000 crore. In such a scenario, the government should run a free vaccination drive across the nation as the government had made preparations for vaccinations quite early, he added.