No COVID testing of asymptomatic patients: HC notice to Delhi Govt, ICMR
The plea said the AAP government has also issued show cause notices to authorised private laboratories for testing asymptomatic cases, alleging that they have purportedly acted in violation of the ICMR testing guidelines as well as suspended testing by eight labs.
New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Monday sought the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and the Delhi government's response to a plea filed by former Indian Medical Association (IMA) chief K.K. Aggarwal against the state Health Department order to stop Covid-19 testing for asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic patients.
A division bench of Chief Justice D.N. Patel and Justice Prateek Jalan issued notice to the authorities on two separate but similar petitions filed by Aggarwal and Renu Goswami.
The court will now hear both the matters on June 22.
Aggarwal, who is also the president of NGO Heart Care Foundation of India, challenged the June 2 order of the Delhi government whereby strategy of Covid-19 testing to be done in Delhi is formulated as per which "asymptomatic patients or pre-symptomatic patients" are excluded from Covid-19 testing.
"The said office order is liable to be set aside, quashed and withdrawn as getting a medical test done is a fundamental right of every citizen and as Covid-19 is a notifiable disease, and, it is mandatory for all citizens to get themselves tested for Covid-19 whether the patient is symptomatic patient or asymptomatic patient or pre-symptomatic patient," the plea said.
Goswami too challenged the legality and validity of the said order, claiming that the same curtails access to Covid-19 tests despite the fact that, there is an alarming increase in the number of coronavirus positive cases within the national capital.
In her plea, she contended that the government has excluded asymptomatic direct contacts of confirmed cases from COVID-19 testing (except high-risk cases) and the same is in contravention of ICMR testing guidelines issued on May 18.
The said guidelines make the testing of "asymptomatic direct and high-risk contacts of a confirmed case" mandatory.
The plea said the AAP government has also issued show-cause notices to authorised private laboratories for testing asymptomatic cases, alleging that they have purportedly acted in violation of the ICMR testing guidelines as well as suspended testing by eight labs.
The Delhi government earlier this month gave show-cause notice to eight private labs for non-compliance of the ICMR testing norms, including the Ganga Ram Hospital, Fortis hospital and the NCDC.