SC hears plea seeking prevention of circulation of fake COVID-19 vaccine

A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) has been filed before the Supreme Court on Tuesday by lawyer, Vishal Tiwari, seeking a direction to the Union of India (UoI) and others, to issue strict guidelines and regulations under the Disaster Management Act by constituting a special committee to prevent the chances of sale or circulation of fake and counterfeit COVID-19 vaccine by any organisation, company or online apps.

The petitioner in his PIL sought a direction that the respondents, including the Centre, be directed to run an awareness programme for the safety of the citizens against the danger of counterfeit vaccination of coronavirus.

Tiwari, in his petition, sought a direction that the respondents be directed to enact a strict law against the criminal act committed by selling or circulating counterfeit coronavirus vaccine by any organisation or individual.

The petitioner cited that the pandemic took the entire world into its captivity. He further stated in his plea that all countries started research for its cure. After several months of research, some countries have been successful in inventing the vaccine against COVID-19.

The United Kingdom (UK) pioneered the anti-coronavirus vaccine programme for its citizens. It authorised drug-maker Pfizer for anti-coronavirus vaccination. The Right to Health care, Right to Safe Health and Right to Life enshrined under Article 21 guarantees the protection from fake treatment during this pandemic, the petition said.

The petition further said Interpol has issued an orange notice to member countries and has warned that now along with the corona vaccination programme, several criminal organisations will be active and will circulate and sell counterfeit or fake vaccine.

This criminal act will be carried out through the physical as well as online modes. Many websites will be active in committing such fraud, the petition filed by Tiwari stated.

People can be easily be attracted by them (illegal and anti-social elements) as the present pandemic has created a situation of fear and uncertainty. So, people with an intention of saving their lives from the deadly virus can easily fall prey in the hands of such criminal organisations who intend to sell forged vaccine and make huge profit, the petition added.

India is a vast country having huge population. It can be a big place of profit for criminal organisations and companies as it can be made a market for selling counterfeit and fake corona vaccine. Such organisations adopt a very smart technique of publicity, which can attract several innocent citizens of our nation for buying the vaccine, Tiwari in his petition claimed.

The lawyer further raised the issue of online fraud in his PIL and said the Centre and the states are bound by the Disaster Management Act to take steps for the safety of the citizens.

Online fraud has become a regular criminal act and our nation is also facing this challenge. Under the Disaster Management Act, both the Centre and states have power to prevent the epidemic and take necessary steps for the safety of the citizens. The protection of citizens from fake and counterfeit anti-corona vaccine is also a task covered under this act, Tiwari in his petition said.

If the criminal organisations succeed in committing such acts then it may lead to chaos and big imbalance as it will affect the vaccination programme of government negatively and instead of cure it will bring more disastrous effects, the lawyer stated in his petition.

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