Kerala HC rejects private lab owners’ plea

The Kerala High Court building. File   | Photo Credit: H. Vibhu

A Division Bench of the Kerala High Court on Monday declined to interfere with a single judge’s interim order refusing to stay a government order reducing the charge of RT-PCR test to ₹500 from ₹1,700.

Dismissing an appeal filed by the owners of some of the private diagnostic laboratories against the single judge’s stay order, the Bench comprising Justice Anil K. Narendran and Justice Ziyad Rahman A.A. observed that the single judge had taken note of the fact that the charges in States such as Haryana, Telangana, and Uttarakhand were similar to the one fixed by the Kerala government. Therefore, there was no reason to interfere with the single judge’s order.

The single judge, while declining the plea of the lab owners, had observed that prima facie it appeared that the government had arrived at the rate of the RT-PCR test after conducting a market survey through Kerala Medical Services Corporation Ltd. (KMSCL).

Lab owners’ contention

The lab owners had contended that the State government had no power to reduce the price. However, the government asserted that it had the power to issue orders under the provisions of the Disaster Management Act, Epidemic Diseases Act, and Kerala Epidemic Diseases Ordinance. That apart, the Union government had authorised the State government to fix the rates of COVID-19-related tests. There was, therefore, no illegality in the government issuing the order.

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Printable version | Jul 24, 2021 8:57:01 PM |

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