Indian Council of Medical Research has informed the Delhi High Court that it has recommended testing for only those eligible individuals who are coming with due prescriptions of doctors.
The clarification was provided to the Single Bench of Justice Navin Chawla in a plea challenging the mandatory requirement of a doctor's prescription to undergo a COVID19 test.
By a letter dated July 20, ICMR has further submitted that opening up testing for all asymptomatic patients will create an unnecessary burden on labs which will lead to missing out of individuals who are in actual need of the test.
The letter states that:
'the strategy for COVID-19 testing in India is focused on testing symptomatic individuals, close contacts of lab confirmed cases and high risk individuals pre-op, immune compromised etc.'
Filed by Mr Utsav Sidhu, Mr Reginald Valsalan, and Mr Rakesh Talukdar, the present writ petition raises the grievances of professionals who are required to travel to different states in course of their professional obligations.
The Petitioners have submitted that many States, such as Himachal Pradesh, require the individuals to produce a COVID negative certificate before allowing them entry.
It is pointed out by the Petitioner that by an advisory dated July 01, the ICMR had strongly advised States to ensure that laboratories are free to carry out tests, without the prior requirement of a doctor's certificate.
Therefore, it is the case of the Petitioner that ICMR has not undertaken any steps towards ensuring that the mandatory requirement of a doctor's Petition is done away with.
The petition says:
'... with the new requirements imposed by some states regarding a CoVID-19 negative certificate to ensure that persons are allowed to travel into the said State,mandatory requirement of a doctor's prescription impedes the ability of people to get themselves tested at a laboratory, and effectively placing the decision of whether the said person can travel to the said place, at the hands of the doctor.'
The Petitioners in this case are being represented by Advocate Abhimanyu Tiwari.