While hearing a petition seeking directions to make tests for swine flu available at an affordable cost, the Delhi High Court Wednesday sought response from the central and city governments on the steps taken to deal with the viral disease.
A division bench of Chief Justice G. Rohini and Justice R.S. Endlaw issued notice to the union health minister, the city’s health ministry, civic bodies and the lt. governor on the issue and sought their response by March 4.
“File response explaining the steps you have taken on the issue,” said the bench.
The public interest litigation (PIL) filed through advocate Gaurav Bahl said the government should provide more laboratories in the city for testing swine flu (H1N1 virus) and the facility should be available at an affordable cost.
“The government should establish multiple testing laboratories and that should be available at an affordable cost. Now, the cost of test is Rs.4,500. It has to be reduced,” argued Bahl.
Currently, the government has only three laboratories in Delhi for swine flu tests, he told the court, adding that “the government should immediately establish multiple testing laboratories at all government hospitals wherein the identification test for swine flu can be conducted”.
The plea challenged “the inaction and lackadaisical and perfunctory approach of the government” in effectively dealing with swine flu.
“At present, the approved laboratories for testing and confirming the disease are limited and offered at places where the laboratories are charging exorbitantly.
“The government is immediately required to open various testing laboratories where the citizens of Delhi can be tested for the flu at a cheaper rate and affordable prices,” the plea said.
The plea further sought direction to government hospitals to keep medicines for the treatment of swine flu and ensure that sufficient and required amount of medicines are available with all hospitals and nursing homes of Delhi.