The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), in an affidavit on Monday (April 13), urged the Supreme Court to dismiss the petition on which it had ordered private laboratories to conduct free COVID-19 testing.
In its affidavit, the top medical body said free COVID-19 tests are already being conducted for the Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PMJAY) beneficiaries, even at private laboratories. An Indian Express report suggests Solicitor General Tushar Mehta has indicated that the top court may modify its previous order.
In an interim order on April 8, a bench of Justices S Ravindra Bhat and Ashok Bhushan had directed the Centre to ensure all approved laboratories, including the private ones, offer free COVID-19 testing.
Subsequently, private laboratories had urged the government to formulate modalities that makes its financially viable for them to conduct free tests. The report said the government has recognised the fact that private laboratories need liquidity to stay afloat and the risks of having a universal free testing rule for the viral infection.
The Union government had earlier capped the testing charges at ₹4,500 for the approved private laboratories.