Delhi High Court has lifted its stay on the government’s decision to procure a medicine used to bring down drug addicts’ dependency on opiates like heroin and reduce their habit of injecting drugs.
A vacation bench of justices G S Sistani and P S Teji was of the prima facie opinion that the government has followed the proper procedure while awarding the contract for supply of 1.5 crore tablets of the medicine Buprenorphine.
“Prima facie for the purpose of deciding the present stay application, we do not find that respondent no.1 (Centre) has not followed the proper procedure. However, this aspect would require a detailed hearing and the objection is kept open.
“For the reasons aforesaid, we find no merit in the application for stay. The interim order dated June 6 stands vacated,” the bench said.
The court on June 6 had put on hold the government’s procurement order placed with drug company Verve Human Care Laboratories on a plea by Rusan Pharma, which had argued that the Ministry of Health could not have entered into a private contract for getting the medicine when public money was involved.
Rusan had claimed that initially in 2014, a tender was floated for procurement of the medicine in which it was the second lowest bidder while Verve came in third. However, the successful bidder was later debarred and the purchase order was issued to Rusan, its petition said.
In 2016, the government approached Rusan to procure more of the medicine at a price which was offered by the debarred successful bidder and the company had agreed to it, it said.
Rusan also claimed that it came to know later that the government had issued purchase order in favour of Verve.
However, the government and Verve argued that the current procurement order was not in continuation of the 2014 tender.
Central government standing counsel Anurag Ahluwalia, appearing for the ministry, contended that the medicines were being procured on account of emergency conditions and great hardship would be caused if the stay was not lifted.
After hearing the arguments, the court observed that the current procurement order was not in continuation of the earlier tender of 2014, which stood closed.