The Madras High Court today directed the Centre to spell out its stand on submission of health
certificates of those contesting elections.
Justice N Kirubakaran gave the direction after Additional Solicitor General G Rajagopalan, appearing for the central government, submitted that as of now there was no legal provision for seeking health certificates of candidates.
The judge then posted the case for further hearing to
He was hearing a petition by S V Subbaiah of Coimbatore district seeking a direction for submission of medical certificates of candidates contesting local body elections.
The court had earlier widened the scope of the plea and impleaded the Centre and the Election Commission, observing it cannot be confined to local body polls alone and was essential in the case of assembly and parliamentary elections as well.
The petitioner had sought a direction to call for medical reports of the candidates contesting local body polls to enable voters to know about their health status.
Meanwhile, in his counter, Tamil Nadu Chief Electoral Officer Sathyabrata Sahoo stated that as per Section 33 A of Representation of People's Act (RPA), a candidate has to furnish details of criminal case, if any, against him.
As per the guidelines issued by the Supreme Court, the candidate also has to provide details of his assets and that of his family.
Referring to the petitioner's plea seeking health status of candidates, he said such disclosure would be in conflict with the concerned individual's right to privacy, enshrined as one of the fundamental rights under the Constitution.
He submitted that the Election Commission was of the view that it might not be the best course of action to invoke powers under Article 324 of Constitution and issue any guideline, considering the sensitivity of the subject and the implications on privacy.
Stating that a voter has a right to know about the health condition of a candidate whom he likes to elect, the petitioner countered that the privacy clause on the health condition cannot be claimed when a person intends to contest elections.
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