NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court Tuesday sought the Centre's response on a PIL seeking direction for fixing the maximum rate for the RT-PCR test for COVID-19 uniformly all over India.
A bench comprising Chief Justice S A Bobde and Justices A S Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian issued notice to the Health Ministry and listed the PIL filed by lawyer Ajay Agrawal for hearing after two weeks.
The bench, in a hearing conducted via video conferencing, said that the plea would be heard with another pending plea pertaining to the cost of treatment for COVID-19.
It took note of the submission of Agrawal that the plea needed an urgent hearing.
The petition has sought a direction to the governments to fix the maximum rate for the RT-PCR (real-time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction) test to Rs 400 uniformly across the country, instead of Rs 900 to Rs 2800 as fixed by different state governments, Union Territories and NCT of Delhi.
"There is a big loot by laboratories and they are minting money to the tune of crores and crores of rupees. The margin of profit is so high as it is as high as 1400 per cent in Andhra Pradesh and 1200 per cent in Delhi," said the petition filed by advocate Ajay Agrawal.
It claimed that the RT-PCR kits are presently available for less than rupees 200 in the Indian market.
"There is no other cost as the machines used for the RT-PCR test are already there with the laboratories as they conduct a large number of tests. And the matter is concerned with 135 crore citizen of the country as everybody worried about the coronavirus and forced to get their test done at this exorbitant price," it said.
It alleged that the owners of the private laboratories and hospitals are using the calamity into opportunities for minting crores and crores of rupees.