SC issues notice to Centre on plea urging free testing

A view of the Supreme Court of India. File  

The Supreme Court on Friday asked the government to respond to a petition seeking free COVID-19 testing facility at all laboratories, including privately owned ones.

A Bench led by Justice L. Nageswara Rao issued notice on a plea by Delhi resident Shashank Deo Sudhi, who challenged the legality of a March 17 advisory that caps the price for testing for the SARS-CoV-2 virus at ₹4,500 in private labs and hospitals.

Mr. Sudhi has argued that the advisory was both discriminatory and a violation of the fundamental right to life under Article 21 of the Constitution.

“It is extremely difficult for the common citizen to get himself/herself tested in the government hospital/labs and [there] being no alternative in sight, the people are constrained to pay the capped amount to the private hospital/labs for protecting their lives,” the petitioner contended. “The respondents are completely insensitive and indifferent to the plight of the common citizens of the country who are already financially burdened on account of [being] completely locked down with no possibility of” the lockdown being lifted in the near future, he added.

In the alternative, the petitioner asked the court to direct the government to “ramp up the testing facilities at the earliest, given the escalating mortality and morbidity rate across the country”.

Mr. Sudhi said ideally the COVID-19 tests should be conducted under NABL accredited pathological laboratories as the non-accredited labs were not conforming to the standards of global best practices prescribed by the International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC) and Asia Pacific Accreditation Cooperation.

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Printable version | Jul 28, 2021 9:35:59 AM |

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