The Supreme Court on Saturday has been moved in a plea for direction to the Centre to ensure refund of "exorbitant" amounts charged by private labs and hospitals for conducting RT-PCR tests to detect COVID-19.
The interim application has been seeking directions to the Central government to ensure that the excess money taken from people, therefore, is nothing but extortion and the persons responsible should be punished and excess amount should be refunded.
The interim plea has been filed by Advocate Ajay Agrawal in a pending public interest petition filed by him seeking fixed rate of Rs 400 for these tests across India. A three-Judge Bench of Chief Justice of India S.A. Bobde and Justices A.S. Bopanna and V. Ramasubramanian, had in this petition issued notice to the Union Health Ministry seeking its reply within two weeks, and had decided to hear it with another pending petition regarding the cost of Covid-19 treatment
According to the plea, private testing labs and hospitals are using the current pandemic as opportunities for making money. With the machines required for RT-PCR tests already there, the labs do not incur any other cost to conduct these tests. As the citizens of the country are worried about the Covid-19 virus, they are forced to get the tests done at a very high price. The exorbitant amount charged from poor and innocent people of this country therefore needs to be refunded immediately as it is not only unrealistic and unreasonable but shocking.