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Testing kits should be used rationally, can’t do away with doctor’s prescription as pre-requisite: Bombay HC

The court further refused to issue an order allowing Covid-19 testing for all, including asymptomatic persons or those who did not come in contact with Covid-19 positive patients.

With the latest infections, the number of cases rose to 12,735.

Observing that testing kits must be used rationally, the Bombay High Court on Friday refused to direct the Maharashtra Government and civic authorities to do away with requirement of a prescription by a medical practitioner as a prerequisite for the test.

The court further refused to issue an order allowing Covid-19 testing for all, including asymptomatic persons or those who did not come in contact with Covid-19 positive patients.

A division bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice K K Tated was hearing a plea filed by businessman Narendra Murkumbi through senior advocate Vikram Nankani and advocate Ankit Paleja seeking direction to the state government to do away with production of a prescription or certificate of a medical practitioner as a pre-condition to test for Covid-19.

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The petitioner also sought direction to the state to allow such testing to be done irrespective of whether a person is symptomatic or has come in contact with a Covid-19 patient.

After hearing submissions, the Court refused to pass any interim order on relief sought by the petitioner and observed, “We are of the considered prima facie opinion that there has to be a rational use of testing kits and the present situation is not such warranting grant of interim relief, as prayed. Interim relief stands refused.”

The PIL stated that conditions by ICMR and Union Health Ministry as per March 31 guidelines were in violation of fundamental rights including the Right to life and that timely testing for coronavirus should be made available to every person.

The Court had on June 16 asked Murkumbi to place all circulars and guidelines issued from time to time by the ICMR in relation to testing of symptomatic and asymptomatic Covid-19 suspects. Advocate General Ashutosh Kumbhakoni for state and Assistant Solicitor General Anil Singh for central authorities opposed the plea.

The Court directed the authorities to file reply in affidavits within three weeks and asked the petitioner to file a rejoinder, if any, within a week thereafter. The Court will hear the PIL in due course.

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