The Supreme Court has dismissed a plea challenging the disinvestment process of HLL Lifecare Ltd., a Central Public Sector Enterprise (CPSE) under the Union health ministry, saying it was not inclined to entertain the petition which related to a “pure issue of policy”.
A bench of Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud and Justices P S Narasimha and J B Pardiwala was hearing a petition filed by NGO ‘Sabka Sahyog Society’.
“The issue which has been raised in the petition under Article 32 of the Constitution, namely, the disinvestment decision of the government in respect of Hindustan Latex Limited is a pure issue of policy. We are not inclined to entertain the Petition under Article 32 which shall accordingly stand dismissed,” the bench said.
Article 32 of the Constitution gives individuals the right to move the Supreme Court to seek justice when they feel they have been unduly deprived of their rights.
HLL Lifecare is involved in manufacturing and marketing a range of contraceptives, women’s healthcare products, hospital supplies as well as other pharmaceutical products.
The petitioner had said HLL Lifecare was a nodal agency in the procurement of PPE kits throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and vaccines.
It said the role played by HLL Lifecare during the pandemic was noteworthy and the ministry had nominated it as the nodal agency for the procurement and supply of emergency medical items to fight Covid.
The plea, while referring to HLL Lifecare’s role in providing emergency relief, said the country cannot afford to privatise an entity like it at this crucial juncture when the vaccination drive is still going on.
In March 2022, the government had said it has received multiple preliminary bids for the firm.
The Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (DIPAM) had invited preliminary bids for selling the government’s 100 per cent stake in the health sector CPSE.