A petition was filed in the Supreme Court by Shashank Deo Sudhi highlighting the urgency to level up the testing facilities in light of the COVID-19 Outbreak. This is essential due to “escalating mortality” and “morbidity rate” across the nation.
The petitioner challenges the price fixed for COVID-19 testing kits at Rs. 4500 across all private labs and hospitals by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) advisory. The price fixed is essentially too expensive for the common man.
Fixing of such a high price was argued to be violative of Art.14 (Right to equality) and Art.21 (Right to life and personal liberty).
The petition read as:
“That the respondents are insensitive and indifferent to the plight of common citizens of the country who are already financially burdened on account of completely locked down with no possibility of being unlocked in recent future. The financial sufferin being caused by the respondent by issuing such an advisory on 17th March 2020, fixing Rs. 4500 for testing and confirming including screening of COVID-19in private hospitals and labs are discriminatory and unreasonable, depriving the accessibilityof medical facilities to the common citizens violating the Right to life under Art.21 of the Constitution of India.”
The petitioner called the price fixed for the COVID-19 testing kits unreasonable and discriminatory.
The bench consisting of J. LN Rao and J. Deepak Gupta has directed the petitioner to email the copy of the petition to the solicitor general (a small step towards a paperless judiciary). The bench also directed the central government to file its response.
In the petition, Shashank Deo Sudhi prays for intervention by the apex court for striking down the price fixed by the advisory.