NEW DELHI — The Indian Council of Medical Research, on Sept. 6, said that the certificate of the National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories is a must for the private lab’s enrollment for the Covid-19 testing.

In its affidavit, the Indian Council of Medical Research said to the Delhi High Court that monitoring the activities of online health service aggregators does not come under the purview of the Indian Council of Medical Research.

The Indian Council of Medical Research has filed its affidavit in a petition seeking initiation of contempt proceedings for the Delhi government for allegedly not complying with the court’s order to take action against illegal online health service aggregators operating in the national capital to regulate online pathological labs.

“National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories certification is a must for enrollment of private labs for testing,” said the Indian Council of Medical Research said in its affidavit.

“National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories certifies the readiness of labs to undertake molecular testing of SARS-Cov2 before the Indian Council of Medical Research onboard them for testing. Through these parameters, it is ensured that labs meet the statutory standards for Covid-19 testing.”

The Indian Council of Medical Research apprised the court that it has laid down the statements of purpose. Legal guidance for setting up Covid-19 testing labs and 14 mentor Institutes have been set up in India to guide the labs on implementing these statements of goals and set up a for the testing lab.

For Delhi, the mentor Institute is the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Delhi, the Indian Council of Medical Research said.

The Indian Council of Medical Research submitted that as of Aug. 16, 2021, the Indian Council of Medical Research had approved 134 (35 government and 99 private) labs at Delhi for RT-PCR, TrueNat, CBNAAT, and Other M-NAT Testing Platforms.

Advocate Shashank Deo Sudhi, who appeared for petitioner Rohit Jain, had alleged that the government had taken no action and that there is a grave violation of the Supreme Court order.

He said that contempt is remedial jurisprudence and not adversarial and public welfare is the highest law.

Petitioner has alleged that the top official of respondents is equally responsible for restraining the illegal practices of online aggregators, which are freely being carried out under the eyes of these officials in utter violations of the rules and regulations laid down by statutes and the guidelines issued by the respondents from time to time ever since the outbreak of deadly coronavirus.

“Several illegal online aggregators advertise freely by offering attractive packages for the body check-up, including Covid-19 test through SMSs or various online modes,” the plea stated.

“The applicant/petitioner has received an advertisement of the online aggregator through e-mail for getting tested.”

It had submitted a severe issue that the online aggregators are operating without any authorization and approval. Besides, these online aggregators are not accredited by any accreditation agency.

The existence of such illegal online diagnostic aggregators poses a serious health challenge as many people are falling prey to the attractive health packages offered by these unlawful online aggregators, states the plea.

“The acts of respondents clearly constitute the contempt of the court, and appropriate contempt proceedings should be initiated against them for acting against the order dated Aug. 6, 2020, of this court,” the plea said.

“The respondent’s officials have been playing with precious lives of innocent people by promoting unqualified, unregistered medical practitioners to sign the pathological report and exposing the common people to the mercy of untrained and highly incompetent medical/pathological professional.”

(With inputs from ANI)

Edited by Saptak Datta and Ritaban Misra

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