HC rejects Patanjali’s ‘Swadeshi’ logic: Why Ramdev’s Divya Pharmacy was told to share benefits with locals

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Updated: Dec 28, 2018 10:31 AM

Even as Divya Pharmacy -- founded by Baba Ramdev and his aide Acharya Balkrishna -- claimed the Indian firms are not supposed to share with locals the profits from the sale of bioresources as herbal products, the Uttarakhand High Court has rejected the plea.

Baba Ramdev says he can sell petrol, diesel at Rs 35-40 a litre if government allows, but can he?The court, in its judgement, has said that both Indian and foreign companies are liable to pay indigenous and local communities for using the biological resources under the Biodiversity Act, 2002.

Even as Divya Pharmacy — founded by Baba Ramdev and his aide Acharya Balkrishna — claimed the Indian firms are not supposed to share with locals the profits from the sale of bioresources as herbal products, the Uttarakhand High Court has rejected the plea. The court, in its judgement, has said that both Indian and foreign companies are liable to pay indigenous and local communities for using the biological resources under the Biodiversity Act, 2002 as the latter kept the traditional knowledge of biological resources alive over the years.

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“Biological resources are definitely the property of a nation where they are geographically located, but these are also the property, in a manner of speaking, of the indigenous and local communities who have conserved it through centuries,” the judgment said.

Earlier, Divya Pharmacy had moved High Court contesting the powers of the Uttarakhand Biodiversity Board (UBB) to impose fees on it under the provisions of Fair and Equitable Benefit Sharing (FEBS) of the Biological Diversity Act, 2002 as being a “purely an Indian company” it’s exempted from the same.

However, the UBB had countered the argument saying that such a distinction between the Indian and the foreign firms defeats the very purpose for which the law was enacted.

A set of regulations was notified by the government in 2014 on accessing biological resources and associated knowledge, including sharing of benefits. A firm is liable to share 0.5 per cent of its sales after taxes if its annual turnover is more than Rs 3 crore.

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