coronavirus testing kit
coronavirus testing kit
Litigation News

Plea moved before Supreme Court to ensure cost-free COVID-19 testing facility for all

The petition challenges the ICMR Advisory fixing Rs 4,500 as the maximum amount that could be charged for COVID-19 testing by private entities.

Aditi Singh

A petition has been moved before the Supreme Court to ensure cost-free COVID-19 testing facility for all Indian citizens, irrespective of whether the testing lab is being run by the government or by private entities.

The petition has, therefore, challenged the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) advisory fixing Rs 4,500 as the maximum amount that could be charged for COVID-19 testing by private entities.

The petition preferred by Advocate Shashank Deo Sudhi also seeks a direction that all COVID-19 tests be conducted by accredited pathological laboratories, and at an increased rate.

Advocating in favour of free-of-charge tests to detect Coronavirus, the petitioner has asserted that capping the prices for testing at private hospitals/labs violates the ideals and values of the Constitution of India that promise to protect common people in the times of emergency and calamities.

"It is extremely difficult for the common citizen to get himself/herself tested in the government hospital/labs and being no alternative in the sight, the people are constrained to pay the capped amount to the private hospital/labs for protecting their lives. The respondents are completely insensitive and indifferent to the plight of the common citizen of the country who are already financially burdened on account of completely locked down with no possibility of being unlocked in recent future."
Petition filed in Supreme Court

It is thus contended that the ICMR Advisory is liable to struck down for being in violation of Article 14 and 21 of the Constitution of India.

While making his case to ramp-up the testing facilities, the petitioner also claims that for a country for billions, there are only 114 testing centers for COVID-19.

The petition also seeks a direction to the ICMR to hold regular news briefings about the current situation on COVID-19 and inform the public about the precautions to be taken to fight the pandemic.

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