The Apex court has made tests for the coronavirus disease in government and private laboratories free, and asked the government to pass the necessary orders so as to make this possible. The tests are already free in government laboratories. Private laboratories used to charge Rs 4,500 for the currently used RT-PCR tests. This is a strong step by the Supreme Court to help contain the spread of COVID-19. The SC through video conferencing passed the order on 03.04.2020 and directed all the private companies to conduct the test for COVID-19 free of cost.
Legal experts say it is for the government to now decide what is in public interest, while striking a balance between making COVID-19 tests economically viable and keeping the private sector engaged.
The writ petition under Article 32 of Constitution of India filed as PIL by Adv. Shashank Deo Sudhi seeking to provide free of cost testing facility of Covid-19 by all testing labs whether Private or Government. Advisory which was issued by Indian Council of Medical Research Department of Health Research dated 17.03.2020 which fixed   Rs 4500 for screening and conforming COVID -19. The petitioner prayed that a direction must be issued to carry out all tests under NABL accredited Labs or agencies approved by WHO.
Before declaration of COVID-19 as Pandemic by WHO it affected many countries and now it is spreaded all around the world and In a country like India with Huge population, it is a difficult task to contain the spread of pandemic. Thus, we need to test many people as for every section of society Rs4500 payment for testing is not an affordable price. So, after this step by SC of issuing interim order for free testing in private labs is a great step to contain the Pandemic.
  The main Highlights of Honorable Supreme Court Order are-

     Honorable Supreme Court found Prima Facie substance in writ petition filed by Adv. Shashank Deo Sudhi that charging Rs 4500 may not be affordable for most of the people.
     Honorable SC asked Private Laboratories to conduct a test of Screening and Conforming COVID-19 free of cost and later they would be reimbursed by the Government.
     The Court directed that the test must be carried out in labs certified by National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories (NABL) or agencies approved by World Health Organization (WHO) and Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).
     The Honorable SC asked the central government for its views on this issue within two weeks.
     The Honorable Court issued interim direction to the Government that tests relating to COVID-19 whether in approved Government or Private Laboratories shall be free of cost.

Download Order here.

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