HC directs Centre, Delhi, ICMR to respond to petition against advisory banning repeat RT-PCR tests
On May 4, the top medical body had issued the advisory for testing during the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic in India.
The Delhi High Court on Tuesday directed the Centre, the Aam Aadmi Party government and the Indian Council of Medical Research to respond to a petition challenging a clause in the top medical body’s advisory that says an RT-PCR test must not be repeated on anyone who has tested positive for Covid-19, PTI reported.
On May 4, ICMR had issued an advisory for testing during the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic in India. “At present, the laboratories are facing challenges to meet the expected testing target due to extraordinary case load and staff getting infected with COVID-19,” it had said. “In view of this situation, it is imperative to optimize the RT-PCR testing and simultaneously increase the access and availability of testing to all citizens of the country.”
The petitioner, advocate Karan Ahuja, told the bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh that he and his family tested positive for the coronavirus disease on April 28 and completed their 17-day isolation period.
The petitioner claimed that the guards posted outside his house refused to let his family step out to get essentials without producing a negative test report, ANI reported.
Ahuja said that his parents went to a dispensary the very next day, but the medical staff refused to test them, citing the ICMR advisory.
The petitioner argued that refusing to test people at a public facility was a violation of their fundamental right to life and liberty. “The said advisory is arbitrary, discriminatory and creates a paradoxical situation since a negative RT-PCR report is compulsorily required by several other notifications issued by the Respondents [the government and ICMR],” the petitioner claimed.
Ahuja urged the court to allow him and his parents to get tested again and strike down the ICMR’s recommendation against repeating tests.
India has so far tested more than 34.67 lakh samples for Covid-19. More than 19 lakh tests were done on Monday alone. The Centre has repeatedly asked the states to ramp up testing and focus on containment measures.
India reported 1,27,510 new coronavirus cases on Tuesday. Its total count of infections since the outbreak of the pandemic in January last year rose to 2,81,75,044. As many as 2,795 deaths pushed the country’s toll to 3,31,895.