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Kerala HC declines to stay single judge order on reducing RTPCR test rates

K.C.Gopakumar Kochi | Updated on June 21, 2021

Earlier, the government had reduced the test charges to ₹500 from ₹1,700.

A Division Bench of the Kerala High Court on Monday declined to interfere with a single judge's interim order refusing to stay a government order reducing the charge of RT-PCR test to ₹500 from ₹1,700.

Dismissing an appeal filed by the owners of some of the private diagnostic laboratories against the single judge's stay order, the Bench comprising Justice Anil K.Narendran and Justice Ziyad Rahman A.A. observed that the single judge had taken note of the fact that the charges in many of the other states such as Haryana, Telangana, and Uttarakhand were within the same rate as that of the price fixed by the government. Therefore, there was no reason to interfere with the single judge's order.

The court said that the single judge could consider the legal contentions raised by the appellant based on statutory and other laws.

While declining the plea of the lab owners, the single judge had observed that prima facie, it appeared that the government had arrived at the rate of RTPCR test after conducting a market survey through the Kerala Medical Services Corporation Limited (KMSCL).

The lab owners had contended that the state government had no power to issue the price reduction order.

However, the State government countered the argument and asserted that the State had every power to issue orders under the Disaster Management Act, Epidemic Diseases Act and Kerala Epidemic Diseases Ordinance. The Union government had also authorised the State Government to fix the rates of various tests relating to the Covid pandemic. There was, therefore, no illegality in issuing the order by the government.

Published on June 21, 2021

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