New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Thursday sought a detailed report from the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) regarding the regulation and appointment of online health service aggregators.
While deferring the matter for September 7, a Bench of Justice Najmi Waziri asked ICMR to file an affidavit with details of parameters and the basis on which licenses are being given to centres, along with a list of centres that have been provided licenses.
The court's direction came during the hearing of a contempt petition claiming non-compliance of its earlier order regarding regulations of online aggregators.
The High Court had earlier asked the Delhi government to examine if for the pending legislation there can be some measure of regulation of aggregators. The court was hearing the contempt plea against the Delhi government, ICMR and others for not regulating online aggregators.
Advocate Shashank Deo Sudhi, who appeared for the petitioner Dr Rohit Jain, alleged that no action has been taken by GNCTD and in fact, there is a grave violation of the Supreme Court's order.
The petitioner stated that contempt is remedial jurisprudence and not adversarial and public welfare is the highest law. Hence, the court is hearing a petition seeking initiation of contempt proceedings for allegedly not complying with the court's order and to take action against illegal online health service aggregators operating in Delhi and to regulate online pathological labs.
The pleas stated: "Court on August 6, 2020, directed that the concerned respondent authorities initiate action in accordance with law against any illegal online health service aggregators operating in Delhi in violation of the applicable law including the Clinical Establishment (Registration and Regulations) Act, 2010, if applicable, or in violation of any rules, regulations or government policies applicable to the facts of the case. Action will be initiated in accordance with law against such violators of the law as expeditiously as possible and practicable, after giving an adequate opportunity of being heard to the concerned parties".
The petitioner alleged that the top official of respondents is equally responsible for restraining the illegal practices of online aggregators.
"Several illegal online aggregators are advertising freely by offering attractive packages for the body check-up including COVID-19 test through SMSs or various online modes. The applicant/petitioner has received an advertisement of the online aggregator through e-mail for getting tested," the plea further stated.
The plea submitted that it is an extremely serious issue that the online aggregators are operating without any authorisation and approval.
"Besides, these online aggregators are not accredited by any accreditation agency. The existence of such illegal online diagnostic aggregators is posing a serious health challenge as a large number of people are falling prey to the attractive health packages being offered by these illegal online aggregators," it said.
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