Delhi govt’s resistance on court monitoring the ramping of Covid-19 testing incomprehensible: HC2 min read . Updated: 04 Aug 2020, 11:05 PM IST
The court also ordered the government to file the report on the implementation of RT-PCR tests across the national capital
NEW DELHI : The Delhi High Court on Tuesday said that the resistance shown by Delhi government on the court monitoring the progress made in ramping up the testing, is incomprehensible. It added that this is not an adversarial litigation and it is purely in the interest of the citizens of the national capital that all government departments and agencies act in tandem and work collectively to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic for larger public good.
"The history of the instant case which has been elaborated here in above shows that this court in the instant writ petition is monitoring the steps taken by the authorities for conducting tests for identifying COVID-19 patients to ensure that the pandemic does not spread. The present petition is not in the nature of adversarial litigation and has been filed for a specific purpose and to serve public cause. The jurisdiction of the High Court to continuously monitor the situation even in a disposed of petition cannot be curtailed by taking such a technical plea," the bench said and declined to close the matter as requested by the Delhi government.
The court has asked Delhi Government to file a status report after obtaining necessary clarifications from the ICMR with regard to the manner of implementation of its Advisories for deploying the RAT tests and the RT-PCR tests in different part of Delhi, a fresh Status Report shall be filed.
The next date of hearing is on 19 August.
It then proceeded to examine the Delhi government status report which claimed that its testing numbers of 27,604 RT/PCR tests per million was double the national average of 13,647 tests per million.
“It has been further stated that a resident of Delhi can get himself tested through RT-PCR by following the protocol laid down by the ICMR; that RAT testing is a complementary testing to RT-PCR as it helps early detection of disease." The court order reads.
ICMR stated that it is satisfied with the extent of testing being done by the Delhi Government by adopting RT-PCR and RAT testing. Simply because 60% of the reports of RAT tests are negative, is not reason enough for a person to undergo RT-PCR testing unless and until after being declared as negative in the RAT test, the said person has symptoms that are visible to the attending doctor, for undergoing RT-PCR testing.
It further clarified that the recommendation for undergoing the RAT test is for Containment Zones/Hotspots and Health Care settings in certain circumstances specified in the Advisory dated 14 June issued by ICMR. For other areas, the guidelines of the ICMR apply for undertaking the RT-PCR test, as per the particular groups identified in the Advisory.
Delhi government also told the bench about the second round of sero surveillance that it has initiated, independent of the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), in the national capital since 1 August.
The order by the bench comprising Justice Hima Kohli and Justice Subramonium Prasad came while hearing a plea by advocate Rakesh Malhotra, on increasing the testing numbers in the national capital and getting speedy results.