The Delhi High Court on Tuesday has said it is expected from Government of NCT of Delhi that the directions issued by LG with regard to the test of asymptomatic patients/ persons for COVID-19, will be followed while disposing of the batch of pleas.
A two judge bench led by the Chief Justice SA Bobde & Justice Prateek Jalan was hearing the batch of pleas challenging the decision of Delhi Government not to test the asymptomatic patients/ persons for COVID-19.
On June 8, 2020, Delhi Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal overruled the Delhi Government order to test only for symptomatic patients of COVID-19.
The Delhi High Court said, “it is expected from the Delhi Government of NCT of Delhi that the directions issued by the Hon’ble Lt. Governor of NCT of Delhi given in the said order dated 8th June, 2020, as implemented by the said order of the same date issued by the Principal Secretary (Health & FW), GNCTD, shall be complied with and followed scrupulously with regard to the tests to be carried out for the asymptomatic patients/ persons”.
The Court passed its direction on batch of pleas where the main ground of challenge was the Circular issued by the Government of Delhi on June 2, 2020, by which it had restricted the private labs from conducting COVID-19 tests of asymptomatic persons, even if they come in a direct contact of COVID-19 person, unless they suffer from a serious comorbidity.
In one of the leading Case “Gaurav Prakash Shah V Government of NCT of Delhi” filed by Advocate Akash Sinha, Advocate Rahul Shyam Bhandari & Advocate Shubham Saket it was contended that the said circular of Delhi Government was contrary to the testing norms pertaining to the asymptomatic persons as per the guidelines issued by the ICMR, which clearly stipulates that even the asymptomatic persons who have come into contact with COVID-19 positive person have to be tested once between the 5th and the 10th day.
“Right of access to the healthcare is a fundamental right implicit under Article 21 of the Indian Constitution and the impugned circular issued by the Delhi Government is in direct contravention of Right to life under Article 21 of the Constitution of India,” said the Plea.
It was further mentioned, “that the non testing of asymptomatic persons if they have come in direct contact with a COVID-19 positive person, would result in putting the general population at severe risk of infectionand can also result in contagion at community level transmission with no discernible manner to undertake contact tracing”.
-India Legal Bureau