MUMBAI: Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) municipal corporator Vinod Mishra challenged a June 13 circular issued by the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) restraining Private Labs from sharing Covid-19 positive test reports directly with patients. Bombay high court on Friday posted the matter for an urgent hearing on Saturday.
Bench of Justices SJ Kathawalla and NR Borkar sought a response from BMC counsel Anil Sakhare who sought time till next week but the HC asked whether till then reports would not be given. Sakhare then sought just a day’s time.
A senior BMC official however later explained, when asked, that it was noticed that most of the Covid beds and Covid ICU beds in 35 major private hospitals were occupied by asymptomatic positive patients from the affording class, who soon after receiving Covid positive test reports from the laboratories rush to these hospitals out of anxiety and get admitted, thereby robbing a patient in real need of an ICU bed.
Mishra’s counsel Amogh Singh said each day’s delay may cause grave danger to covid patients, depriving them of their right to basic medical assistance.
A March 17 ICMR circular on testing is already being followed, yet the BMC issued a separate circular on June 5 for Mumbai and an “arbitrary and perverse” clarificatory circular on June 13 to prevent private labs from providing ‘positive’ reports to patients directly, said the petition.
“As per central guidelines, asymptomatic patients need not get hospitalised in advanced centres. But in Mumbai, they are paying money and hospitals are only happy to accommodate,” said the civic official. In the existing system, labs are supposed to communicate the positive reports to the ward level war room, who then get in touch with the patient and decide on the grade of facility the person requires.
BJP MLA Kirit Somaiya reacting to the SC order said, “We thank the SC for directing private labs to directly give reports to patients. We had strongly objected to the circular