SC junks PIL which sought mass testing, challenged validity of PM CARES fund

‘Petition has a political colour. Either you withdraw it or we will impose a fine’, warned Justice Ramana during the hearing which lasted for barely a minute, after which it was dismissed as withdrawn

Photo courtesy- social media
Photo courtesy- social media
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NH Web Desk

The Supreme Court on Monday dismissed a PIL which sought directions to the Centre to conduct en masse door to door testing for COVID-19 as withdrawn, reports legal news website LiveLaw.in.

Petitioner in person, advocate Shashwat Anand appeared before the Bench comprising of Justices NV Ramana, SK Kaul and BR Gavai and apprised them of his plea which also included a challenge to the validity of the PM CARES fund.

Expressing their displeasure at the same, the Bench threatened to impose a fine on the petitioner if he did not withdraw the plea.

"The petition has a political colour. Either you withdraw it or we will impose a fine", warned Justice Ramana as the hearing lasted for barely a minute.

The petitioners, Shashwat Anand, Ankur Azad and Faiz Ahmad, 3 advocates and Sagar, a law student from Allahabad, expressed their grave concerns over the manner in which India is attempting to fight the pandemic, especially with regard to the low rate of testing.


To buttress this submission, reliance was placed on the Indian Council of Medical Research's (ICMR) latest status report from April 7, 2020 according to which the government is conducting merely 82 tests per Million people across the country.

"What is the most worrying is that the reported confirmed COVID-19 cases, for sure, could be a gross underestimate as the testing rate in India is amongst the lowest in the world. The shocking spike in the number of corona infected cases within a matter of days shows that it may only be the tip of the iceberg and we're oblivious to the real gravity of the situation," the petition said.

Alluding to India's response as "basal", the petitioners claimed that the government has not been focusing on the right details to ensure victory over the fight against COVID-19. It suggested that instead of looking to curb community transmission, emphasis should be laid on managing and treating the virus, the first step for which would be mass testing.

"India's response to fighting this pandemic is basal. It is primarily focused on curbing community transmission, rather than managing, identifying and treating the virus infection following the mass tests which is, to put it differently, evinced by the lack of enough and mass house-to-house tests as proportional to the humongous and densely packed population of India," it said, as per the report carried by LiveLaw.in

Reiterating that while measures such as social distancing and the nationwide lockdown are an attempt to curb mass transmission, the petitioners cautioned that such exercises would be futile if mass testing is not conducted. "Combating COVID-19 would become like fighting a fire blindfolded," it said.

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