The Telangana High Court on Thursday issued contempt notice against a senior state health official for not complying with its order that 50,000 COVID-19 diagnostic tests be conducted daily, and one lakh tests once a week.
Hearing a batch of PILs on the COVID-19 pandemic, a division bench, headed by Chief Justice Raghvendra Singh Chauhan, issued the notice to Director of Public Health Dr G Srinivasa Rao, asking him to explain within two weeks why contempt proceedings should not be initiated against him for not complying with its orders.
On November 19, a High Court bench directed the state government to conduct 50,000 COVID-19 tests every day and to increase the number of tests to one lakh once a week.
The official submitted before the court that testing was being done for the people coming to the testing centres, and that they cannot compel a citizen to be screened for the virus. The court said the tests were not conducted as per its directions, and it was nothing but contempt as it asked the official to explain.
It further directed the state government to increase the number of RT-PCR (tests for COVID-19) labs from existing 17 to 23, and also to increase the number of mobile testing vans and the area covered by them.
The bench adjourned the matter to December 17 with a direction to the government to file it's report by then.
The Telangana High Court has questioned the state government on various aspects of dealing with the pandemic on multiple occasions.
Earlier in October, the HC had accused the government of tampering with the data on deaths caused by COVID-19 in the state. The High Court bench had stated that the figures seemed â€śfudgedâ€ť, and that the report had been drafted to â€śfool the court.â€ť