SC may modify order on Covid tests by pvt labs, only Ayushman card holders eligible right now

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday indicated that it may modify its earlier order asking all private labs to offer the corona test for free, and instead restrict such benefits only to Ayushman Bharat card holders. The government, through Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, suggested this to the court. A […]

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday indicated that it may modify its earlier order asking all private labs to offer the corona test for free, and instead restrict such benefits only to Ayushman Bharat card holders.

The government, through Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, suggested this to the court. A scheme, he said, can be formulated for other BPL (Below Poverty Line) categories, opposing any move to make it free for those who can afford it.

The court had ordered all private labs to make the test free on lines with government labs which are conducting the tests free.

The cap for the charges for the private labs was fixed at Rs 4500. This health, activists claimed, was unaffordable for a major part of the Indian population. A PIL was later filed in court by advocate Shashank Deo Sudhi seeking to make corona tests by private labs free.

The court order came on the PIL.

Mehta urged the court to modify its earlier order and the bench agreed. A formal order can be expected later today.

The law officer said that the government has to prioritise its resources as the fight against corona may go on for over 2 months. He said that those wishing to avail the test free can go to the 139 government labs.

“We are seeing a serious problem. The end is unknown,” he said. He also pointed out that only those have to be tested only if a doctor certifies that it’s needed. Not everyone has to go through it, he said.

Though the bench was sceptical of the government data in hand on Ayushman Bharat card holders as it was a fairly new scheme which was introduced 1.5 years ago, it came around to accepting the government stand.

Mehta also elaborated the government steps to claim that tests had been scaled up from one lab 12 months ago to 157 labs now. Railway coaches have been turned into hospitals, private properties taken over, he said.

Source Article

Lois C. Ferrara

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