Jamshedpur 9 April 2019: The Supreme Court on 8th April directed that COVID-19 test should be done free of cost in both government laboratories and in approved private laboratories.
The government of India has been directed to issue necessary direction in this regard.
A bench compromising justice Ashok Bhushan and S Ravindra Bhat passed the following direction:
1.) The test related to COVID-19 whether in approved government laboratories or approved private laboratories shall be free of cost. The respondent shall issue necessary direction in this regard immedietly.
2.) Test related to COVID-19 must be carried out in NABL accredited labs or any agency approved by WHO or ICMR.
— Tatanagarlive (@tatanagarlive) April 8, 2020
The petitioner sought a direction for free testing for COVID-19, in both government and private laboratories.
The bench said that it found “prima facie substance” in the submission of the petitioner that permitting private Labs to charge Rs.4500 for screening and confirmation test of COVID-19 at this time of national calamity may not be within means of a large part of the population of this country
The bench observed that no person should be deprived to undergo the COVID-19 test due to non-payment of the capped amount of Rs.4500.
The Court was told that the testing in Government Laboratories is free of cost.
“The private Hospitals including Laboratories have an important role to play in containing the scale of a pandemic by extending philanthropic services in the hour of national crisis. We thus are satisfied that the petitioner has made out a case for issuing a direction to the respondents to issue necessary direction to accredited private Labs to conduct free of cost COVID-19 test”, the bench said.