The Supreme Court today refused to recall its earlier order in which it had disposed of a plea seeking an enquiry into alleged negligence by the government in running public sector laboratories involved in making vaccines for diseases such as tuberculosis. A bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud said that it had already dealt with the issue in its earlier order passed in October 2016 and there was not question of recalling the same. "We are not inclined to recall the order," the bench said. Senior advocate Colin Gonsalves, appearing for petitioner S P Shukla, said that the plea be revived as the PSUs are not functioning and the government was still procuring vaccines from private firms at higher rates. The PIL had alleged that the central government was neglecting the production of vaccines in the public sector laboratories and was taking their supplies from the private producers. The court passed the order after the submissions made by senior advocate Colin Gonsalves, who said on behalf of the petitioner that the situation has not improved and the petition was disposed of without taking note of the ground situation. In its order on October 10, 2016, the apex court had noted that the government has not only taken substantial steps towards reviving the dysfunctional institute by incurring considerable expenditure but some of the institutes had already gone into production. The petition had alleged that instead of reviving and making Central Research Institute (CRI), BCG Vaccine Laboratory (BCGVL) and Pasteur Institute of India (PII) functional and productive, the government was neglecting them and taking supplies of the vaccines from private producers. The petitioner had sought a direction for appointment of an expert committee "that would look into the problems of the ailing institutes and suggest a revival plan so that the critically required vaccines are neither in short supply nor is the government dependent upon private producers for supply." The vaccines including BCG which is primarily used against tuberculosis, DPT which is used for diphtheria, pertussis (whooping cough) and tetanus, DT which protects young children from diphtheria, tetanus, and whooping cough and TT, the tetanus vaccine, he had said.
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