The Bombay High Court recently issued notices to the Serum Institute of India (SII) and the Central Government while hearing a petition filed by Diip Lunawat, the father of a medical student who allegedly died due to side effects of the Covishield vaccine that she was administered in January 2021.
A division bench of Justices SV Gangapurwala and Madhav Jamdar recently issued notices to the respondents and kept the matter for further hearing on November 17.
Aurangabad resident Dilip Lunawat filed a petition before the principal bench of the high court in January this year seeking Rs 1,000 in compensation from the state and union authorities and SII.
Along with the state and central governments, the plea has added the SII through its CEO Adar Poonawalla, Bill Gates (partner in SII), the ministry of health and family welfare and the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) as respondents in the plea.
Microsoft founder Bill Gates has been added as a respondent to the petition as a partner to SII, having an address at Hadapsar, Pune. The Bill Gates Foundation funded SII's efforts in the manufacture of Covishield.
At the last hearing, advocate Smita Thakur accepted notice on behalf of Gates.
According to Lunawat’s plea, his daughter Snehal, a medical student in Nashik, was administered both doses of the vaccine as part of the state government's initiative to vaccinate all healthcare workers.
He said that Snehal was assured that the vaccine was completely safe and posed no risk or threat to the body. "She was, therefore, compelled to take the vaccine at the college since she was a health worker," the plea reads.
His plea further states that health workers like his daughter were compelled to take vaccine due to the "false narratives created by Drug Controller General of India (DCGI), the Director of All India Institute of Medical Science (AIIMS), the Maharashtra government, and the Union government that vaccines are safe".
His plea held that Snehal took the vaccine on January 28, 2021, and due to the side effects of the vaccine, she died on March 1, 2021.
Lunawat has claimed in his plea that the Union government's AEFI (Adverse Event Following Immunization) committee on October 2, 2021, admitted that the death of his daughter was due to the side effects of the Covishield vaccine.