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The writ petition filed on the issue has been converted into a representation to be served to Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, who may place it for consideration by the concerned Union Ministry.
The plea filed in Supreme Court to increase the number of authorised laboratories testing for the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) in India has been converted into a representation that may be submitted to be kept in advisement by the Union Government.
The PIL filed earlier this month had also called for increasing the number of quarantine and isolation centres, so that the country can be prepared in the event that the number of affected persons rises.
The matter was listed today before the Bench headed by Chief Justice of India, SA Bobde. The Court had initially issued notice in the matter, with CJI Bobde observing that it was an important issue.
However, following submissions by Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, the Court allowed for the PIL to be converted into representation to be placed for the consideration of the concerned Union Government Ministry.
Accordingly, the petitioners were directed to serve a copy of their plea to Solicitor General Mehta. The plea before the Court has been withdrawn.
The petitioners in the matter had raised concern that the laboratories presently authorised to test for the coronavirus may be insufficient for the country’s population. It is added that this is a likely reason for possibly underestimating the number of persons who have been infected.
Relying on various media reports, it was also highlighted that other countries have been more active in testing their populations, when compared to India.
In view of these concerns, the petitioners had prayed that the Supreme Court:
Direct the Government to exponentially increase the number of authorised laboratories for testing Coronavirus (COVID-19) in order to ensure widespread accessibility of the testing centres given the huge population of our country;
Direct the Government to exponentially increase quarantine/isolation centres in the event of further outbreak of COVID-19;
Direct the Government to make available temporary hospital beds and such other facilities for rural patients to be combat ready for any exigency in case of a possible outbreak in rural India;
Direct the Government to facilitate thermal screening at public places as a precautionary measure to contain the outbreak of COVID-19.
The plea was filed by journalist, Prashant Tandon and Social Activist, Kunajana Singh through Advocates Ashima Mandla and Fuzail Ahmad Ayyubi. Advocates Ashima Mandla and Fuzail Ahmad ayyubi appeared for the petitioners today.