The Panaji bench of the Bombay High Court on Thursday dismissed a petition seeking medical examination of Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar, IANS reported. Upholding his right to privacy, the court said that ill health does not make one incapable of occupying a constitutional position.
The court was hearing a petition filed by social activist and former Goa Forward Party spokesperson Trajano D’Mello seeking Parrikar’s health report. D’Mello had demanded that Chief Secretary Dharmendra Sharma evaluate Parrikar’s health by consulting a panel of expert doctors.
A bench of Justices Prithviraj K Chavan and RM Borde on Thursday said the petition was a “half-hearted attempt” to make “serious inroads in the territory of privacy of an individual”.
“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,” the court said.
Parrikar is suffering from pancreatic cancer. He has been in and out of hospitals for several months and has made only one public appearance since October, when he returned to Goa after being discharged from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in Delhi.
The court said that seeking Parrikar’s medical examination and reporting its 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”, The Hindu reported.
“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 said. The Bharatiya Janata Party-led state government in an earlier hearing had told the court that a mere diagnosis of a disease should not be interpreted as a person’s inability to hold an office.
The Opposition Congress in Goa and other leaders had criticised the BJP after pictures of Parrikar were released earlier this week. The pictures showed Parrikar with a nasal tube, inspecting an under-construction bridge on the Mandovi river in Panaji. But the ruling party hit back on Tuesday, asking the Congress to stop “politicising” Parrikar’s health.