In a first-of-its-kind order, the Uttarakhand High Court has directed a company run by yoga guru Ramdev to share a percentage of its profits with local farmers and communities.
The high court gave the order while rejecting a petition of Divya Pharmacy against the Uttarakhand Biodiversity Board (UBB) and upholding the provisions of fair and equitable benefit-sharing as provided under the Biological Diversity Act, 2002.
The bench of Justice Sudhanshu Dhulia held that it was a fact that biological resources constitute the main ingredient and raw materials in the manufacture of ayurvedic and nutraceutical products. It ordered the pharmacy to share ₹2 crore out of its ₹421-crore profit with the farmers of the raw product.
Earlier, UBB had directed the pharmacy to share the amount with the farmers and local communities out of its profit as per the Biological Diversity Act. The pharmacy had claimed that the UBB neither had the powers nor jurisdiction to pass such an order and it was not liable to pay or make any kind of contribution.
The court held that India was a party to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity and the country was under an obligation to give effect to the provisions of the treaty.
The court said the UBB was within rights to pass the order demanding the amount, as the biological resources were not only a national property, but also belong to the communities which produce these.