The Supreme Court refused to entertain a review petition filed by the Ministry of Health and Population seeking to challenge its earlier verdict that had ordered the government to provide free diagnostic and therapeutic services to COVID-19 patients.

A full bench of justices Hari Krishna Karki, Sapana Pradhan Malla and Purushottam Bhandari refused to grant leave to the government for filing the review petition.

This means that the government will now have to abide by the apex court’s earlier decision delivered in response to a writ petition filed by advocates Lokendra Oli and Keshar Jung KC.

On behalf of the Ministry of Health and Population, the Office of the Attorney General had filed the review petition against the SC order passed in response to the writ petition filed by the two advocates.

The OAG had argued that the government had been providing free diagnostic and therapeutic services to those who could not afford the treatment, but the apex court did not take that into account while passing orders today.

The health ministry had stated that the SC’s decision to ask the government to provide free diagnostic and therapeutic service was contradictory as it did not quash the government’s earlier decision to charge people for PCR tests.

The government also argued that COVID-19 was not a disease that could be listed in basic health service.

The government’s decision to charge people for COVID-19 test and treatment has drawn flak from opposition parties and civil society members.

Meanwhile, the advocates Oli and Keshar Jung KC have also filed a contempt of court case against the minister of health and population for defying the court order that asked the government to diagnose and treat COVID-19 patients free of cost.


A version of this article appears in print on November 06, 2020 of The Himalayan Times.

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