THE DELHI High Court Friday sought a reply from the Delhi government on a petition challenging the price cap of Rs 800 on RT-PCR tests by private labs in the national capital, even as the Delhi government clarified that its order does not extend to cartridge-based CBNAAT and TrueNat methods.
While issuing notice to the government for February 25, Justice Navin Chawla asked the state to respond to the argument of Association of Practising Pathologists that the price fixed by the authorities is unreasonable.
While the petitioner also argued that the state is not making timely payment of the bills, the court declined to entertain the prayer regarding processing of payments of private labs for the Covid-19 tests done by them for the government.
The association in the petition argued that the continuance of the “unreasonable price cap” would force the labs to compromise the quality of kits and testing standards and such action would be counter-productive in the fight against Covid-19.
It has also said that while charges have been capped for the RT-PCR tests, the government has not capped the charges for testing kits, PPE kits and other equipment sold by manufacturers at variable prices.
“The impugned order has been passed as a populist measure to propagate itself as common man’s government whereas on a careful and closer examination, it is clear that the said measure is actually anti-common man and infringes the sacrosanct and fundamental right of every patient to avail the best medical services available, both in terms of quality and faster turnaround time,” the plea contends.
It has also argued that the government order does not provide any reason for such drastic lowering of charges from Rs 2,400 to Rs 800 and the same has been done without any consultation with the stakeholders. “By capping the charges for the samples collected even by the labs themselves, the government has ensured that private labs do not earn a single penny in any Covid-19 tests and rather invest from their pockets and drain all their finances,” it states further.
Meanwhile, on Friday, Delhi recorded 2,385 new Covid-19 cases and 60 fatalities, taking the total number of cases to 6,03,535 and the death toll to 9,934.
A total of 71,679 tests were conducted in the last 24 hours as the positivity rate reached 3.33%.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines