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Plea in SC seeks free COVID-19 testing at private, govt labs


ANI General News
A petition was filed in the Supreme Court on Tuesday seeking directions to the Central government and others to provide free of cost COVID-19 testing facility to all citizens at private and government labs.
The petition filed by advocate Shashank Deo Sudhi sought an urgent hearing in the matter.
The petition sought directions to all the respondents, including the Union of India (UOO), Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and others for ramping up the testing facilities of COVID-19 at the earliest given the escalating mortality and morbidity rate across the country.
The plea also sought directions to declare advisory of March 17, issued by the ICMR as being arbitrary and unconstitutional violating article 14 and 21 of the Constitution of India discriminating the accessibility of testing facilities for COVID-19 in the health crisis.
It sought directions to ensure that all tests relating to COVID-19 must be conducted under NABL accredited pathological laboratories as the non-accredited labs are not conforming to the global standards, being practiced by international laboratory accreditation co-operation (ILAC) and Asia pacific accreditation co-operation (APAC).
Sudhi, in his petition, also sought directions to proclaim an order for the urgent resumption of duties of all private hospitals including its doctors and paramedical staffs in order to effectively fight against the pandemic.
"The government of our country is completely caught in a dilemma and is forced to take an irrational decision of arbitrary capping in respect of the testing facility for COVID-19 in private hospital/laboratories at the rate of Rs 4,500. This decision of the respondent is extremely sad and unfortunate," the petition said.
The plea said that the country's health infrastructure is understaffed and under-resourced.
The decision taken by the respondent is extremely sad and unfortunate, keeping in view the given circumstances where the entire country is under lockdown and the government hospitals are overwhelmingly packed, the petition said.

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First Published: Mar 31 2020 | 6:38 PM IST

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