The Nagpur Bench of the Bombay High Court said that Covid test results should be given to patients immediately through Watsapp and hard copies without waiting for them to be uploaded on the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR)'s website.
A division bench of Justices ZA Haq and MA Borkar, hearing its suo motu PIL, further said that once a Covid-19 positive patient is given his report, it must be uploaded on the website within 24 hours, while a negative report may be uploaded within seven days.
The Court said appropriate action should be taken against those who don't follow its orders.
"If these directions are not complied with by the laboratories, the authorities will be free to take appropriate action against the concerned laboratories, as deemed fit by the concerned authority."
The Court passed the order while hearing a suo-motu PIL, along with a clutch of other PILs and applications filed to deal with the exponential rise of Covid-19 cases in Nagpur and the consequent collapse of infrastructure.
Intervenor Dr Mukesh Chandak pointed out the difficulties patients in Nagpur were facing to get their RT-PCR test reports in time. The test detects the Covid-19 virus.
He claimed that the delay of nearly 4 to 5 days in getting the reports is due to laboratories insisting on first uploading the reports on the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) portal, which sometimes takes time owing to a slow server.
Amicus Curie SP Bhandarkar and advocate Tushar Mandlekar suggested that the reports of the patients, whether positive or negative, shall be immediately sent to the patients on Whatsapp and a hard copy of the report shall also be made available…without holding delivery of all such reports on the ground that the reports have not been uploaded on the ICMR portal.
As far as uploading of reports on the ICMR portal is concerned, it must be done thereafter, they said.
The Court then directed that after making the reports available to the patients on Whatsapp as also hard copy of it, the reports of the patients, who test positive shall be uploaded on the ICMR portal within 24 hours and the reports of the patients who test negative should be uploaded on the ICMR portal within 7 days.
Maharashtra registered over 60,000 Covid-19 cases for the third time this month along with 349 deaths, the second-highest addition in the second wave.
Advocate Tushar Mandlekar for one of the intervenors said that Nagpur has become a hot spot of covid- 19 cases, with 7k patients testing positive for virus each day. "There are nearly 1 lakh active cases in the City. There are merely 6.5k beds for positive patients and 1,200 ICU and ventilator beds, however, they are all full," he said.