NEW DELHI: An intervention application was filed in the Supreme Court on Saturday seeking modification of its 8 April order that directed the Centre to ensure that covid-19 tests are made free.
In an interim order, the court said the Centre should direct all approved diagnostic laboratories, including state-owned and private facilities, to offer free testing.
Kaushal Kant Mishra, doctor at Primus Hospital and Knight Clinic in New Delhi, who filed the applications as an intervenor, said private labs should be allowed to carry out covid-19 tests as per the rates stipulated in the ICMR advisory on 17 March, and the tests should be free for the economically weaker section of the society.
Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) had set the charges for the tests at ₹4,500 for private labs.
The applicant said quite a few labs now have reservations about going ahead with testing unless it becomes clear where the funding for the same would come from. There does not appear to be a clear commitment from the Centre and state governments to take on any extent of the burden, it added.
The apex court had held in its order that it will consider later whether private laboratories are entitled to any reimbursement of expenses. The government has been given two weeks to file a response.
The plea also sought setting up of testing labs in all municipalities and panchayat areas so that free testing by the government can be increased to manage the capacity.