No reason to monitor plea against bar on repeat RTPCR on COVID patients, says HC



NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court Friday said there was no reason to further monitor a plea challenging the bar on repeating RTPCR on COVID-19 positive patients in view of ICMR’s stand that a doctor was free to recommend a re-test within 14 days of initial testing if therapeutically indicated.

A bench headed by Chief Justice D N Patel closed the proceedings on the petition by lawyer Karan Ahuja who challenged ICMR’s May 4 advisory barring repeat of RTPCR on positive patients and said that the petitioner has the liberty to move court in future again in case of any grievance.

“In view of the reply filed by the Director General of Health Services, Government of Delhi and ICMR, we see no reason to further monitor the case,” said the bench also comprising Justice Jyoti Singh.

Ahuja had filed the petition earlier this year claiming that due to the ICMR advisory, neither he nor his family members could get tested again after spending more than 17 days in quarantine from April 28 when they had first tested positive.

ICMR responded that while it held that RTPCR test should not be done on COVID-19 positive patients, doctors could still recommend re-testing within 14 days of initial test.

“That it is submitted that in respect of para (i) of the ICMR’s Advisory dated 04.05.2021, a doctor may recommend a re-test of COVID 19, within 14 days of initial testing, if therapeutically indicated,” the ICMR affidavit stated.

The Delhi government told the court that it was bound to give effect to advisories issued by ICMR, including the one under challenge which was issued in the wake of the second wave of the pandemic in order to optimize RTPCR testing infrastructure.

It also informed that as per WHO guidelines, a person may be released from isolation after 10 days from onset of symptoms, plus additional days without any symptoms.

The court had issued notice on the lawyer’s petition on June 1.

The petitioner had contended that the May 4 advisory was “arbitrary, discriminatory and creates a paradoxical situation since a negative RTPCR report is compulsorily required by several other notifications issued by the respondents (Centre, ICMR and Delhi government)”.

He had sought striking down of the clause in the advisory which barred repeating of an RTPCR test on someone who has already tested positive by way of Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) or RTPCR.

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