The supreme court on Monday modified its April 8 order for the free testing facility for COVID-19 in private labs, which will now be available only to the poor. Only those who are eligible under Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Aarogya Yojna (1) will be able to use this facility.
This order was passed by a justice committee consisting of Ashok Bhushan and Ravindra Bhat after hearing the submissions on video-conference calls.
The solicitor general Tushar Mehta who represented the Indian Council of Medical Research had filed an affidavit in the SC arguing for the withdrawal of the April 8 order.
In its interim order, the SC directed the center to ensure that all approved laboratories owned by the state as well the private ones are offering free testing.
Tushar Mehta, in his argument, said that approximately 50 crore Indians can avail the benefit of free testing even at private labs.
The SC also directed the Union Government and ministry of Health and Family Welfare to issue guidelines so that other low-income groups in various informal sectors could also avail of the free testing services at private labs. The center should do this within a week’s time and this is aimed to benefit those who are not covered under the PMJAY.
As a relief to private labs, the court has directed the GOI and the ministry of health and family welfare to offer guidelines that would help private labs in their expenditure incurred due to free testing for COVID-19.