Sahil Society v. Union of India and Anr

AIR 1999 All 87; 1998 AWC 306; 1998 4 AWC 306
Download Judgment: English
Country: India
Region: Asia
Year: 1998
Court: High Court - Allahabad
Health Topics: Medicines
Human Rights: Right to health, Right to life
Tags: Access to drugs, Access to medicines, Drug quality, Drug safety, Essential medicines, Manufacturing, Spurious medicines

The Petitioner, Sahil Society for the Welfare of Aged Poor and Homeless, filed a writ petition as a public interest litigation in the Allahabad High Court. The petition was filed under Article 226 of the Constitution of India (original jurisdiction of High Courts).

The Petitioner requested the Court to direct the Union of India to follow its own guidelines and those of the World Health Organization (WHO) concerning manufacturing and procuring the Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV). OPV, as per WHO guidelines, must be manufactured from bulk concentrate otherwise vaccines of suspect potency could threaten the life and health of children.

Relying on Consumer Education and Research Centre v. Union of India, (1995 (3) SCC 42) and State of Punjab v. M. S. Chawla, (1997 (2) SCC 83), the Court held that the right to health was a part of the right to life guaranteed by Article 21 of the Constitution. The Court therefore directed the Union of India to strictly follow its own guidelines and those of the WHO when manufacturing and procuring OPV. It further directed the Union of India to abide by internationally accepted standards for polio eradication.

“In Consumer Education and Research Centre v. Union of India, 1995 (3) SCC 42 and State of Punjab v. M. S. Chawla, 1997 (2) SCC 83, it has been held by the Supreme Court that the right to health is a part of the right to life guaranteed by Article 21 of the Constitution.” Para. 4.

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