Nainital: The Uttarakhand High Court has directed yoga guru Ramdev to share a percentage of his company’s profits with local farmers and communities. Biological resources constitute a major component for the manufacture of ayurvedic and nutraceutical products. Therefore the pharmacy was directed to share Rs. 2 crores out of the profit amounting to Rs. 421-crore, with the farmers of the raw product.

The order was issued by the high court while rejecting a petition of Divya Pharmacy against the Uttarakhand Biodiversity Board (UBB).  Divya Pharmacy is an Ayurvedic pharmacy owned by Baba Ramdev and Acharya Balkrishna. The bench of Justice Sudhanshu Dhulia upheld the view of fair and equitable benefit-sharing as provided under the Biological Diversity Act, 2002.

The pharmacy claimed that UBB does not have the powers or the jurisdiction to order the company to share the profits with farmers and local communities. The UBB had earlier passed the order in accordance with the Biological Diversity Act. 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 them. According to a report by Bar and Bench, the court emphasized, “‘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.“ Rejecting the challenge made to Regulations 3-5 of the Biodiversity Regulations, 2014, the court concluded that Divya Pharmacy is bound to share the profits earned by the company with the local community including the farmers.

(With Agency inputs)