Abhishek Banerjee, a member of the Trinamool Congress (TMC), and his wife Rujira, who were both questioned by the Enforcement Directorate in connection with a coal smuggling case, were granted permission by the Kolkata High Court on Thursday to go to Dubai for medical treatment.
The court came to the conclusion that there was no basis for the investigating agency’s concern that the individuals could flee the scene.
According to Justice Bibek Chaudhuri, the right to life is the most fundamental right guaranteed by the Constitution, and it includes the right to receive adequate medical care.
“Considering the application purely on humanitarian ground, this Court permits the petitioner no.1 (Abhishek Banerjee) and his wife (Rujira Banerjee) to visit Moorfields Eye Hospital in Dubai, United Arab Emirates during the period between the 2nd of June, 2022 and the 10th of June, 2022,” Justice Chaudhuri directed.
He instructed them to provide the Emergency Department (ED) with copies of their airline tickets, the address where they will be staying in Dubai during the period, as well as the phone numbers of the hospital, so that the organisation may monitor their whereabouts.
Additional Solicitor General SV Raju, who represented the ED, opposed the petition by Mr. Banerjee and his wife to be allowed to go abroad. He expressed concern that Mr. Banerjee and his wife might flee the country if they were granted permission to visit Dubai.
The HC stated that, at first glance, there does not appear to be any reason for the ED to have such concerns.
It was stated that a person cannot be coerced or pressured to receive medical care in a certain country if that person believes that receiving treatment in a medical institution located in another country will be more effective.
“If a patient has the financial wherewithal to do so, he or she is free to visit any physician or hospital of their choosing. It is not permissible for the state to prevent a patient from receiving the appropriate medical care of his or her choice “the judge remarked.
-ADVERTISEMENT- Ads by The counsel for Abhishek Banerjee submitted that on May 31 he wrote a letter to the ED assistant director stating that he is suffering from eye ailment as well as neurofibroma for which he is undergoing medical treatment. In the letter, he stated that he wrote the letter to inform the ED assistant director of his condition.
Mr. Banerjee pleaded that he be exempted from having to personally appear before the ED for the time being due to the possibility that he will need to seek medical treatment somewhere in the world. His attorney S. Basu argued that Mr. Banerjee has been suffering from an eye disease for a considerable amount of time after an accident.
He stated that Mr. Banerjee is currently receiving medical treatment at the Moorfields Eye Hospital in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and that he has received information that his appointment for eye check up is fixed on the date of June 3 and that air tickets for himself and his wife have been booked.
He argued that Mr. Banerjee had told the ED about it in a letter on May 31, 2022, which resulted in the request to travel abroad being denied due to the concern that he might run away.
In a case involving smuggling from unlicensed coalfields in West Bengal, the ASG made the argument in front of the court that the petitioners had been questioned previously and that they are now being asked to do so again.
Binoy Mishra, the primary suspect in the case, is thought to have fled the nation in November of 2020, according to Mr. Raju, and is currently believed to be residing in Dubai. He asserted that the respondents planned to travel to that location in order to meet with Mr. Mishra and then destroy the evidence and materials that were associated with the case.
In response to a case filed by Abhishek Banerjee and his wife, Rujira Banerjee, the Supreme Court ruled that the Enforcement Department (ED) has the authority to demand the petitioners’ presence in their office in Kolkata by providing at least one day’s notice in advance.
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