The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has refused to furnish information under the Right to Information Act (RTI Act) about the data based on which the government approved two COVID-19 vaccines for emergency use in India.
The RTI request filed by activist Saurav Das had sought “copies of the evidence, data, studies based on which clearance was given to COVID-19 vaccines manufactured by Serum Institute of India and Bharat Biotech.
In response, the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation said that the information is exempted from disclosure by virtue of Sections 8(1)(d) and (e) of RTI Act.
Section 8(1)(d) protects information including commercial confidence, trade secrets or intellectual property, the disclosure of which would harm the competitive position of a third party, unless the competent authority is satisfied that larger public interest warrants the disclosure of such information.
Section 8(1)(e) exempts information available to a person in his fiduciary relationship, unless the competent authority is satisfied that the larger public interest warrants the disclosure of such information.