An organisation, Software Freedom Law Centre, India (SFLC) filed an RTI application seeking information from ICMR
(Indian Council for Medical Research) as it qualifies as “public authority” under Section 2(h) of the Right to Information Act, 2005.
The application sought the following details:
- A copy of the memorandum of understanding (MOU) between Bharat Biotech and ICMR
- Funding details of the vaccines
- The royalty earned by the ICMR on Covaxin sales.
The legal director of SFLC stated that ICMR should be transparent and should take steps to ensure that public gets the benefit of the research funded by public money.
The ICMR responded to the RTI Application by stating that the copy of the MOU and the funding details are “third party confidential information” under Section 8(1)(j) of the RTI Act, and ICMR is not bound to disclose such information.
Further, answering the question on royalty, ICMR stated that the royalty received from the sale of Covaxin would be 5% on its net sales.
SFLC has further filed a first appeal with the First Appellate Authority at ICMR.