Observing that “private laboratories can’t refuse tests”, the Delhi High Court Thursday expressed displeasure over allegations that most private labs have stopped collecting onsite samples since rates of Covid-19 RT-PCR tests were capped at Rs 2,400.
A bench of Justice Hima Kohli and Justice Subramonium Prasad said, “If there is any issue with regard to extra expenses that private labs are likely to incur on this account…it is for the private laboratories to approach the Delhi government, raising the grievance.”
“However, it is not acceptable that the private laboratories will stop conducting onsite tests at such a critical juncture where the number of cases of Covid-19 infection are shooting up phenomenally…,” the bench said.
The court’s observations were made after advocate-petitioner Rakesh Malhotra, who sought directions to the Delhi government for swift testing of Covid-19 cases, submitted that “most private labs have stopped collecting onsite samples”. Malhotra said he had personally called up at least 2-3 labs, only to be informed that they are not sending anyone to collect onsite samples.
Additional Standing Counsel Satyakam submitted that the Delhi government has written individually to all private labs seeking clarification from them on whether they are continuing with collection of onsite samples for RT-PCR test, and most of the labs reverted saying that they have not stopped the service.
Taking note of which, the bench said, “In the event any of the private laboratories have stopped…collecting onsite samples to undertake the RT-PCR test for any reason, they shall immediately respond to the letters written by the Delhi government”.
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