CM’s health: Will government give information, asks HC

Panaji, Dec 12 (TOI): The high court of Bombay at Goa on Tuesday asked the chief secretary whether he can claim that CM Manohar Parrikar has a right to privacy regarding his health status and inquired if he had consulted the CM before filing the affidavit in response to a PIL seeking his medical examination by a team of doctors.

The court also asked the government to reply on whether it would submit a report on the status of health of the CM in a sealed envelope to the court. The court directed the government to reply to the questions raised by it while presenting their arguments on Wednesday.

In the case that raises the delicate issue about the fundamental right to privacy of an individual regarding his health as against citizens’ right to know health status of an authority discharging public functions, chief secretary Dharmendra Sharma last week filed an affidavit stating that petition indirectly attacks the CM’s fundamental right to privacy and that his health problems “cannot be subjected to scrutiny”.

During the hearing of the case, the petitioner’s lawyer Rohit Bras de Sa argued that the CM hadn’t made a public appearance, not even in the legislative assembly for months together and mentioned that the petition is not seeking minute details of the CM’s health, but is looking at the larger interest to know whether he is able to discharge his functions as a CM of the state.

Alleging that the chief secretary’s affidavit is suppressing information from the court, de Sa stated that his affidavit has not a single word which mentioned about the CM’s health condition, adding that no reasons like national security have been stated for claiming immunity. The CM and PM’s offices are open to judicial scrutiny and in case there is constitutional breach of trust there can be judicial scrutiny, he stated, adding that the court is the conscience of the Constitution.

De Sa stated that there is a Constitutional trust in the chief minister’s office and if this is breached, the court can intervene. It is an admitted position that the chief minister has pancreatic cancer and the South Goa MP has said the CM is struggling for life, de Sa stated. He said that that if this is the situation “there is a possibility that somebody might take advantage of the situation”, he said, explaining this is the reason the petitioner is seeking the court’s intervention.

“Who is taking decisions on behalf of the chief minister?” de Sa asked, further questioning whether the CM is being held against his will, just to keep the government of the day alive. “Nobody should be held against his will,” he added.