By LE Desk

New Delhi, June 29, 2021: The Supreme Court is scheduled to take up tomorrow a fresh plea seeking direction to the Centre and states to fix the maximum rate for the RT-PCR test to Rs 300 uniformly all over India.

A three-judge bench comprising Justices D Y Chandrachud, L Nageswara Rao and S Ravindra Bhat will take up the plea which also seeks early refund of the additional amount charged for the COVID-19 test, reported news agency PTI.

“The unofficial figures infected and deaths due to Covid are many more times since this second wave affected the villages in remote areas and the RT-PCR test could not be conducted in the remote areas and in Urban areas also there was a waiting of three to four days for the RT-PCR reports after the sample is taken,” the petition said.

“Those with high fever or other symptomatic ailments who were unable to go to the private or Government RT-PCR testing centre, there was a waiting of two to three days for home collection of the sample by the Private Labs, while the total process of test in the Lab takes one and a half hour i,e only 90 minutes time in completing the test,” the plea further said.

The plea referred to the apex court’s order on November 24, 2020, and said the cost of the kit was around Rs 200 and now the cost of the RT-PCR kit has gone down to around Rs 110 and with all other Lab expenses, it comes to Rs 150.

Therefore RT-PCR test should not cost more than Rs 300 which includes 100 per cent profit to the private labs, it said.

The petitioner advocate Ajay Agrawal had earlier sought a direction to the governments to fix the maximum rate for the RT-PCR (real-time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction) test to uniformly across the country, instead of Rs 900 to Rs 2,800 as fixed by different state governments, Union Territories and NCT of Delhi.

“There is no other cost as the machines used of RT-PCR tests are already there with the laboratories as they conduct a large number of tests. And the matter is concerned with 135 crore citizens of the country as everybody worried with the coronavirus and forced to get their test done at this exorbitant price,” it said, reported PTI.

It alleged that the owner of the private laboratories and hospitals are using the calamity as an opportunity for minting “crores and crores of rupees”.

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