In pursuance of the public interest litigation filed by Shashank Deo Sudhi, under Article 32 of the Constitution of India seeking a directions to the government for ensuring free of cost testing facility of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) by all testing labs whether private or government, the Hon’ble Supreme Court ordered all tests relating to COVID-19 to be carried out at NABL accredited Labs or any agencies approved by ICMR and that these tests shall be conducted free of cost.

The petitioner had challenged the Advisory dated 17.03.2020 issued by Indian Council of Medical Research Department of Health Research, as it fixed Rs. 4,500/- (Rupees Four Thousand Five Hundred Only) for screening and confirming COVID-19.

The division bench of the Supreme Court comprising of Justice Ashok Bhushan and Justice S Ravindra Bhat passed the abovementioned order via video conferencing.

Calling the present situation a “natural calamity”, the Coram passed the following directions:

(i) The tests relating to COVID-19 whether in approved Government Laboratories or approved private Laboratories shall be free of cost. The respondents shall issue necessary direction in this regard immediately.

(ii) Tests relating to COVID-19 must be carried out in NABL accredited Labs or any agencies approved by WHO or ICMR.

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by a new virus which causes respiratory illness (like the flu) with symptoms such as a cough, fever, and in more severe cases, difficulty breathing. It finds its origin to the city of Wuhan, China. Until now the virus has claimed 83,512 lives worldwide. India has about 4,848 active cases while 164 people have succumbed to the disease. Testing being one of the crucial steps in order to combat the spread of COVID-19 its accessibility to every strata of the society is important. The abovementioned directions by the Apex Court is an important step towards the same.