Uttarakhand High Court directs Yoga guru Ramdev’s company to share profits with locals

Nainital (U’khand): Ina first-of-its-kind order, the Uttarakhand High Court has directed a companyrun by Yoga guru Ramdev to share a percentage of its profits with local farmersand communities.

The high court gave the order while rejecting a petition ofDivya Pharmacy against the Uttarakhand Biodiversity Board (UBB) and upholdingthe provisions of fair and equitable benefit-sharing as provided under theBiological Diversity Act, 2002.  Thebench of Justice Sudhanshu Dhulia held that it was a fact that biologicalresources constitute the main ingredient and raw materials in the manufactureof ayurvedic and nutraceutical products. It ordered the pharmacy to share Rs 2crore out of its Rs 421-crore profit with the farmers of the raw product.

Previously the UBB had directed the pharmacy to share theamount with the farmers and local communities out of its profit as per theBiological Diversity Act. The pharmacy had claimed that the UBB neither had thepowers nor jurisdiction to pass such an order and it was not liable to pay ormake any kind of contribution. The court held that India was a party to theUnited Nations Convention on Biological Diversity and the country was under an obligationto give effect to the provisions of the treaty. The court said the UBB waswithin rights to pass the order demanding the amount, as the biologicalresources were not only a national property, but also belong to the communitieswhich produce these.

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