The Delhi High Court Tuesday asked the AAP government as to what guidelines or protocols were in place for disposal of used COVID-19 testing kits and whether they were being followed by the hospitals, clinics and doctors under its jurisdiction. A bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice Prateek Jalan asked the Delhi government additional standing counsel Sanjoy Ghose and advocate Naman Jain to find out the guidelines or protocols in place, the authority which issued them and whether they were being implemented.
”Come with instructions,” the bench said to the Delhi government counsels and listed the matter for hearing on December 3. The direction came on a PIL by a lawyer alleging improper disposal of used swabs from Rapid Antigen testing for COVID-19 at the office of the District Magistrate (South East Delhi) at Lajpat Nagar.
The petitioner, Pankaj Mehta, has alleged that used swabs were being ”thrown out in public” and ”tests were being carried out over a pile of used swabs for COVID-19” at the DM’s office. ”Upon complaining about the risk of widespread infection and the irregularity behind disposing off the swabs in this manner, the concerned doctor at the counter said that the swabs are of negative patients and thus it is safe to stand over them and get yourself tested,” Mehta has claimed in his plea.
The claims and allegations were refuted by Ghose who said he was informed that the swabs being referred to in the plea were unused or defective. Ghose also said that he will nevertheless take instructions on the correct position and inform the court.
During the hearing, the court was also told by the Delhi government counsels that there are guidelines issued by the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) with regard to disposal of medical waste. Mehta, in his petition, has said that the Union Health Ministry came out with the Clinical Management Protocol notification on July 3 which laid emphasis on safe waste management and cleaning of the environment across all the areas of healthcare facilities, but the same was not being allegedly enforced by the Delhi government.
First Published: IST