On Wednesday, Supreme Court directed that the tests relating to COVID-19 shall be conducted free of cost in both Government Laboratories and approved private Laboratories.
The Order was passed by the Bench of Justice Ashok Bhushan and Justice Ravindra Bhat in a Writ Petition filed by Shashank Deo Sudhi.
The Petitioner in writ petition seeks a direction to the respondents for ensuring to provide free of cost testing facility of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) by all testing Labs whether private or Government. The petitioner has also challenged the Advisory dated 17.03.2020 issued by Indian Council of Medical Research Department of Health Research, insofar as it fixed Rs.4500 for screening and confirming COVID-19. The petitioner also prays that a direction be issued that all the tests relating to COVID-19 must be carried out under NABL accredited Labs or any agencies approved by WHO or ICMR.
The Bench Held ” We find prima facie substance in the submission of petitioner that at this time of national calamity permitting private Labs to charge Rs.4500 for screening and confirmation test of COVID-19 may not be within means of a large part of population of this country and no person be deprived to undergo the COVID-19 test due to nonpayment of capped amount of Rs.4500. It is submitted before us that insofar as Government Laboratories are concerned the COVID-19 test is conducted free of cost.”
The Bench Issued the Following Interim Directions:
- The tests relating to COVID-19 whether in approved Government Laboratories or approved private Laboratories shall be free of cost. The respondents shall issue necessary direction in this regard immediately.
- Tests relating to COVID-19 must be carried out in NABL accredited Labs or any agencies approved by WHO or ICMR.
While passing the interim order today, the Supreme Court has given the government a time of two weeks to file an affidavit in reply
Read Order Here: