Delhi High Court
Delhi High Court
Litigation News

RAT accurate to the extent of 60%; Delhi Govt ought to focus on shoring up capacity of COVID-19 testing through RT-PCR: Delhi HC

The Court was hearing a petition concerning the rate and status of COVID-19 testing in the city.

Aditi Singh

Observing that Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) for COVID-19 was accurate only to the extent of 60%, the Delhi High Court has requested the Expert Committee formed by the Delhi Government to consider, on priority, the extent to which capacity building for RT-PCR testing was required in the current scenario. (Rakesh Malhotra vs GNCTD)

..we are of the firm view that RT-PCR should be the way forward. For this, in our opinion, Delhi Govt. ought to focus on shoring up the capacity of testing through RT-PCR, so that testing through RT-PCR is scaled up substantially. Only on enhancing the testing capacity can more persons be tested through RT-PCR.
Delhi High Court has opined.

The order was passed by a Division Bench of Justices Hima Kohli and Subramonium Prasad while dealing with Advocate Rakesh Malhotra's petition concerning the rate and status of COVID-19 testing in the city.

The Court perused the number of tests undertaken by the Delhi Government for the last two weeks and noted that while 43,438 RAT tests were conducted on September 8; 51,318 RAT were conducted on September 15.

On the other hand, RT-PCR and other similar tests were conducted in the range of 11,087 for the period between September 8 to September 15, with only one exception on September 13 when 14,078 RT-PCR tests were done.

"As on date, the data of the week commencing on 08.9.2020 and ending on 15.9.2020, shows that testing through RT-PCR is less than 1/4th of the total testing conducted in Delhi.", the Court noted.

Considering the fact that RAT left a "great doubt" with resepct to the infection being carried by asymptomatic persons, the Court opined that Delhi Government must focus on testing through RT-PCR.

The Court also directed the Expert Committee to identify the areas of focus in Delhi for conducting testing through RT-PCR.

During the course of the hearing, the Court also noted that the Delhi Government has imposed a condition on residents getting themselves testing through RT-PCR without a doctor's prescription.

The Court noted that as per the government order, the test would be conducted in accordance with the strategy/advisory issued by the Indian Council of Medical Research and as per the orders issued by Delhi Government from time to time.

A specific direction was issued to the Delhi Government to dispense with any prescription from the doctor for undergoing self-testing for COVID-19 The second para of the Office Order dated 09.09.2020, runs contrary to the said order and is directed to be deleted.
Delhi High Court said.

The Court thus directed Delhi Government to issue a fresh order strictly in compliance with the order passed by it earlier this month.

The Court also opined that Mohalla clinics and Community Centres situated in residential colonies should be roped in for setting up facilities for COVID-19 testing particularly when the number of cases are shooting up on a daily basis.

The matter would be heard next on September 30.

Read the Order:

Rakesh Malhotra vs GNCTD - Sept 16.pdf
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