'Uniform fee': Supreme Court asks Centre to fix testing charge for coronavirus across country
New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: The Supreme Court on Friday took note of the differences in coronavirus testing charges in various states, asking the Centre to decide on the issue.
A three-judge bench -- comprising Justices Ashok Bhushan, SK Kaul and MR Shah -- also said that states should set up panel of experts to inspect hospitals to ensure proper care the patients.
The bench said that it would pass the order later and observed that there should be uniformity in COVID-19 testing charge in all states.
"Discharge policy needs to be followed uniformly across the country. We will issue necessary directions so that government directive is uniformly implemented," Justice Ashok Bhushan was quoted as saying by the Bar and Bench.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, who was representing the government, however, told the top court that there is uniformity in COVID-19 tests all across India.
The apex court, however, said that it will not venture into the fixation of the charges which will be taken care of by the Centre while adding that it may also consider passing an order for installation of CCTVs in hospitals to ensure monitoring of patient care.
"In some states it is Rs 2,200 and in some it is Rs 4,500. We will not fix a rate. You fix a rate," Justice Shah told Solicitor General Tushar Mehta.
Mehta replied that it is better to leave it to the states, as some may be discussing to have even lower rates for testing. The bench, however, said, "You fix the upper limit. States will do the rest."
The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) on May 25 had had lifted the price cap of Rs 4,500 per test after the prices of testing kits had dropped, asking states and union territories (UTs) to "fix up mutually agreeable prices" to test samples with private labs.
Following that, several states -- Maharashtra, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and Telangana -- had brought down the rates for coronavirus testing.
Posted By: Aalok Sensharma