Published On : Sat, Jul 25th, 2020

SC seeks response of state government snd union government on demand of conducting rapid antibody tests

Nagpur – Hon’ble Supreme Court of India comprising of Justice Ashok Bhushan, Justice R. Subhash Reddy, and Justice M.R. Shaha has sought the response of State Government of Maharashtra, Union Govt and ICMR on SLP NO:-8668/2020 filed by Citizens Forum for Euality, {Nagpur Based Registered NGO} challenging the judgment and order passed by Bombay High Court, Nagpur Bench in PIL No:-LD-VC-12-2020 .

The petitioner NGO has sought following major directions initially from High Court :-
{1} direct the state to conduct RT-PCR test of frontline warriors including doctors, nurses, policemen, pharmacist involved in fight against covid-19
{2} direct the ICMR to frame appropriate guidelines to conduct periodic and regular RT PCR test of “frontline warriors”
{3} direct the respondents to immediately start the “Rapid Antibody Test” for screening of citizens in Hot Spots as per the advisory issued by ICMR on 04-04-20, 17-04-20, 22-04-2020 in larger public interest
{4} direct ICMR to fix the price of Rapid Antibody Test Kit for covid-19 immediately to bare minimum so as to make it more affordable and direct ICMR to provide such kits in a systematic and periodic manner in every district of Maharashtra
{5} direct respondents to secure and reserve 50% beds in private hospitals for covid 19 patients

Earlier Hon’ble Bombay High Court, Nagpur Bench asked State Government of Maharashtra, Union Government of India through Ministry of Health, ICMR, New Delhi to show respect for front line warriors and health workers who are fighting against covid19, on a writ petition filed by Citizens Forum for Equality, {registered NGO} at Nagpur through its President Madhukar Ganpat Kukde, and issued directions on 01-06-2020 to immediately start the RT-PCR Test for all doctors, Nurses, Paramedical Staff, Police Persons, Pharmacist attending Covid-19 patients in war against disease in entire region of Vidarbha.The Hon’ble Supreme Court was informed that appropriate guidelines were issued by ICMR for conducting RT-PCR tests on frontline warriors as directed by High Court on 16-07-2020.

The High Court had rejected other prayers of the petitioner and stated that it was state government to decide on conducting “Rapid Antibody Test” in Maharashtra.

The counsel for the petitioner Adv. Dr. Tushar Mandlekar, argued that in spite of increasing number of patients in the country, ICMR and State Government is not conducting Rapid tests for citizens and it is necessary to fix the bare minimum price of Rapid test Kits. He argued that Rapid Test is cheap and quick in nature and is very useful in detecting antibodies in human body which is infected. He also urged to secure 50% beds in private hospitals for covid-19 patients.

Hon’ble Supreme Court has directed the petitioner to serve the copies of the petition to respondent state government and Union Government and sought the response from respective counsels appearing for the governments in two weeks.

Adv. Dr. Tushar Mandlekar assisted by Adv. Rishi Jain and Adv.Rohan Malviya argued for petitioner Citizens Forum for Equality, Nagpur. Solicitor General of India Adv. Tushar Mehata argued for ICMR and Union of India. Adv. Balaram Das argued for State Government.