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New Delhi:

The Supreme Court on Friday disapproved of Maharashtra government’s order that if a patient is found Covid-19 positive, then their test report will not be shared with the patient or his/her relatives.

A bench comprising Justices Ashok Bhushan, Sanjay Kishan Kaul and M.R. Shah said that patients and their relatives must get these reports, and asked the state government to review this order.

Justice Bhushan said the court has come to know that if a person is found Covid-19 positive, then the test report is not being shared with either the patient or the relatives.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the Centre, said that it was in Mumbai. Citing the state government order, Justice Shah said that this is why there is a need to have a uniform policy framed by the Centre. “What is the logic,” the bench asked and told Mehta to communicate its view on the matter to the state government.

The bench noted that counsel of Maharashtra submitted that he shall obtain instructions regarding non-giving of the report to the patient or his relatives. “He shall advise the state to issue an appropriate order permitting handing of the report to the patient or his relatives and the hospital,” said the bench.

“We have no doubt that the state and all concerned shall supply a copy of the report of the patient to him or his relatives and the hospital,” said the bench in the order.

The bench appreciated that Maharashtra has already fixed the rate of testing as between Rs 2,200 and Rs 2,800, and said it is welcome to step up the number of testing in the state.

Maharashtra’s counsel also submitted that every day, more than 16,000 tests are conducted in the state.

The bench noted that the rate of the tests to be conducted in the private labs has been substantially reduced by the Centre for which orders have also been issued. Citing the Centre’s affidavit in the matter, the bench said: “The affidavit also gives details of guidelines framed by the Union of India to ensure proper treatment of Covid-19 patients and dignified handling of the dead bodies in the hospitals as well as the guidelines framed by the Union of India pertaining to Covid-19 hospital management.”

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