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High Court of Bombay at Goa dismisses petition seeking Manohar Parrikar’s medical examination

Court rules that ill health does not make one incapable of occupying a constitutional position.

December 20, 2018 05:03 pm | Updated 06:05 pm IST - Panaji

Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar. File

Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar. File

The High Court of Bombay at Goa on Thursday dismissed a petition seeking medical examination of ailing Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar and, simultaneously, upheld his right to privacy. It also ruled that ill health does not make one incapable of occupying a constitutional position.

An order issued on Thursday by Justices Prithiraj K. Chavan and R.M. Borde stated that the petition, which was filed by Trajano D’Mello and sought to know the health status and a medical examination of Mr. Parrikar who has advanced pancreatic cancer, was a “half-hearted attempt to make serious inroads in the territory of privacy of an individual, and is not at all appreciable.”

The order said, “The Constitutional functionary, merely on account of his ill-health is not incapable to occupy the Constitutional position which he occupies on account of his proven majority before the House of Legislature, and any individual who has rival political interest has to adopt a democratic method to unsettle the political power.”

'outrageous overstepping in territory of individual's privacy'

The court also called the action of seeking Mr. Parrikar’s medical examination by a panel of doctors and to report the outcome to the public is an “outrageous overstepping in the territory of privacy of an individual and which would be impermissible in law to grant such request”.

It stated, “There is no legislation in place which can form foundation of the claim raised in the petition.”

The order said, “Seeking strictly private and confidential information which deals with the privacy of the Chief Minister, without making the latter a party to the petition was not entertainable.”

The court rebuked the petitioner, saying “The litigation initiated under the garb of public interest litigation shall have to be categorised, as has been branded by the Supreme Court, either as a ‘publicity interest litigation’ or a ‘private interest litigation’ or a ‘political interest litigation’.”

Mr. Parrikar has been in and out of hospitals in Goa, Mumbai, the U.S. and Delhi for nearly nine months. With the Chief Minister working from his private residence for a long period, the Opposition and some sections of civil society have been demanding his resignation complaining about administrative collapse.

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