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Exclusive: PIL In Delhi HC Against State Govt's No Testing Of Asymptomatic Patients Policy

A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) has been filed in the Delhi High Court to "ensure testing of asymptomatic and presymptomatic cases of COVID-19


A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) has been filed in the Delhi High Court to "ensure testing of asymptomatic and presymptomatic cases of COVID-19 to control the spread of the pandemic". The petitioner wants the Delhi Government's order dated 2.6.20 to be set aside and quashed.

The Delhi Government's order dated 02.06.2020 has deliberately excluded the asymptomatic and pre-symptoms patients from getting tested in laboratories in Delhi. They have directed private testing laboratories to stop testing asymptomatic patients.
By not allowing the asymptomatic patients to undergo tests, it means such people will not get proper treatment.

The PIL will come up for hearing on Monday and has been drawn by Ketaki Goswami and Shubhangini Jain.

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PIL exclusive details

The PIL states intensive testing is the need of the hour for the following reasons:

  1. "With no vaccine in sight and no recognised method of treatment, testing and isolating is an effective and crucial method to prevent spread of infection and measuring progression of the epidemic."
  2. "Large scale testing is necessary to prevent overburdening of the healthcare system and protecting the front line workers."
  3. "Social distancing and restrictions on economic activities are ineffective without extensive testing and contract tracing."
  4. "Testing is central to any strategy to ease confinement restrictions and reopen economic activities to alleviate economic suffering of people and revitalise the economy."
  5. "Suppression of new wave or relapse of cases can be prevented by extensive testing."

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The PIL in the Delhi High Court is filed by 71-year-old Renu Goswami, who falls in the 'High risk' category in the ongoing pandemic. She suffers from Coronary Arterial Diseases and Hypertension. The PIL is filed for health and safety of public at the grave actions of the Delhi Government.

Earlier position

Under earlier rules, anyone who wanted to get tested and had a doctor’s prescription could be tested. However, under the impugned June 2 order, the Delhi Government has told laboratories they cannot test asymptomatic persons. 

This means if citizens are worried they might have contracted the disease they have to develop symptoms like a fever first, then go through the laborious process of finding a doctor to write a prescription case, and then they can be tested.

All eyes are going to be on the Delhi High Court on  Monday as it hears this PIL.

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(Rhythm Anand Bhardwaj is the Group Legal Editor - Republic Media Network. She has over a decade's experience in covering courts, politics and scams. She has covered ICJ hearings at the Hague, extradition hearings at London, and has also reported from Kabul. She has done in-depth investigations into scams that outraged India. She was also a Supreme Court Lawyer. She believes that hard work and faith leads to success. She can be reached on Twitter @Rhythms22)

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