The Delhi High Court on Monday issued notice in a plea asking the court to set aside Delhi Government's decision to not test individuals who are asymptomatic, that is, who do not show symptoms of the COVID19 infection.
A Division Bench of Justice Hima Kohli and Justice Subramonium Prasad has issued notice to the Delhi Government in a petition that also asks the government to not to charge high amounts for PPE kits.
Moved by Padma Shri awardee Dr KK Aggarwal, who is also the President of the Heart Care Foundation of India, the petition argues that the said order of the Delhi Government is liable to be set aside as getting a medical test done is a fundamental right of every citizen.
Moreover, the petition further argues, as COVID19 is a notified disease, it is mandatory for all citizens to get themselves tested for it whether the patient is symptomatic, asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic.
'As "silent spreaders", asymptomatic carriers warrant attention as part of disease prevention and control. The testing and follow-up of asymptomatic carriers should be expanded to include people in close contact with patients with confirmed COVID-19 and asymptomatic cases, clusters of outbreaks, and key areas and populations with a high risk of infection', the petition states.
The Petitioner submits that if testing facilities are not extended to asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic patients then they will not get proper treatment and soon all asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic patients will become symptomatic patients.
The Petitioner submits:
'Right to health is a fundamental right of the citizens and it not simply the right not to be unwell, but rather the right to be well. the right to health includes healthcare which is accessible and available for the public at large. The Healthcare access is the ability to obtain healthcare services such as prevention, diagnosis, treatment and management of diseases, illness, disorders, and other health impacting conditions.'
While highlighting that the guidance document of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare does ask for testing of asymptomatic patients as well, the Petitioner contends that if we wait for the symptoms of the disease to be manifested, would amount to failure to discharge the constitutional obligation under Article 47 of the Constitution of India.
Senior Advocate Sidharth Luthra, along with Advocates Ketaki Goswami and Shubhangini Jain appeared for the petitioner.