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One full month given to pvt labs, hospitals to upgrade for approval: Delhi HC slams ICMR

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Plea says delays in COVID results hampers contact tracing; Court says a month is too long during this pandemic

While there is a clamour that private laboratories, hospitals and other agencies aren’t providing COVID test results within 48 hours as required, came another shocking news that the nation’s top controlling body, the ICMR has allowed one full month to the 26 applicants (private labs, hospitals etc) for completing the procedural formalities of upgradation etc necessary for approval from the statutory body. That should create a huge backlog amid this pandemic.

On Thursday (July 16) the Delhi High Court showed concern over the reports submitted by the respondents and directed ICMR, NCDC, NABL, and Delhi Government to file their updated affidavits within a week.

The divisional bench, comprising Justice Hima Kohli and Justice Subramonium Prasad, while hearing a petition filed by Rakesh Malhotra through video conferencing, noted that, “the window of one month given by the ICMR for the applicants to complete the procedural formalities, is too long.”

The petition filed by Malhotra alleged that the state government was not taking expeditious steps to furnish test reports within a reasonable time of 48 hours or even earlier due to which contact tracing was getting delayed and the infection was multiplying rapidly.

The court asked ASG Chetan Sharma, appearing for ICMR, how much time has been granted by the ICMR to the remaining 26 applicants for completing the procedural formalities. The counsel said they have been given a window of one month for this purpose.

On this the bench stated: “Don’t you think one month is too long considering the COVID-19 pandemic situation? Why are you giving one month?”

The bench further added: “How does it help the public? Private labs and hospitals better tighten up their system. If you give them one month, they will take two months. How a hospital goes to get itself accredited with NABL, they need to tighten their own system.”

Whereas the court has also directed the NABL to hasten the inspection so that the applicants can complete the formalities required by the ICMR at the earliest. The court has asked ICMR, NCDC, NABL, and Delhi government for an updated affidavit to be submitted within a week.

The matter is listed for July 27.

Read the order here;


– India Legal Bureau

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