HYDERABAD: In a significant direction amid the COVID-19 pandemic crisis, the Telangana High Court on Wednesday allowed private hospitals and laboratories to conduct COVID-19 tests. The HC has delivered this verdict after hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) filed against the state government confining COVID-19 tests only to state-run hospitals.
The High Court asked the private hospitals and labs to apply for Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), seeking approval for conducting COVID-19 tests. It has also directed them to follow guidelines issued by ICMR. The High Court however maintained that the coronavirus tests will be allowed only in hospitals approved by the ICMR.
While giving the ruling, the high court commented that it is “unconstitutional to restrict coronavirus tests only to Gandhi and NIMS hospitals. It further added that it is the right of the people to get their blood samples tested in the private hospital if they can afford to pay for it and the government should not stop it.
The High Court even questioned the state government as to how it entrusted Arogysri health services to private hospitals, if it did not trust them in testing.
This PIL was filed by Ganta Jai Kumar of Nacharam In Hyderabad. He requested the high court to direct the state government to allow the COVID-19 tests in private hospitals and labs.
During the hearing, his counsel BS Prasad contended that people should have the freedom in choosing the hospitals and doctors for their treatment and the government cannot restrict that liberty. He reminded that even ICMR has allowed 12 private laboratories in the state for conducting COVID-19 tests. The lawyer added that allowing people to get tested in private hospitals and laboratories would in fact reduce the financial burden on the state government.