The Delhi High Court has directed the Centre to provide “all possible assistance” to a woman for obtaining the autopsy report of her husband, who died in July 2013 due to an alleged cardiac arrest in US, for initiating legal proceedings there.
Justice Manmohan passed the direction on a petition filed by Binu M K who had approached the court seeking a direction to the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) to make available the autopsy and medical reports of her husband Manoj M C.
The woman told the court her husband, who was working as an assistant security officer on a cruise liner ‘CarnivalTriumph’ at Florida, had died of a cardiac arrest on July 28, 2013 while on duty.
Her counsel claimed the deceased’s friends and co-workers had informed that there was gross negligence on the company’s part as Manoj was suffering from acute pain for more than eight hours but the firm allegedly did not provide basic medical facilities to him.
The lawyer said she needed the autopsy and medical reports for taking legal action against the company.
The counsel appearing for the Centre handed over to the court an e-mail written by Consul General of India at Houston which stated that sharing of medical records in the US was an issue covered by strict privacy.
“We will approach the Ministry to allow us to hire an attorney to go through the legal/court process to obtain relevant medical records/autopsy report for the next of kin in accordance with local privacy laws,” the e-mail said.
After the e-mail was handed over to the court, Binu’s advocate said he wish to withdraw the petition with liberty to file proceedings in a court in the US.
The lawyer, however, requested the court that the MEA and Consul General of India at Houston be directed to provide all assistance to her.
“Consequently, the present writ petition is dismissed as withdrawn with a direction to the respondents (MEA and others) to render all possible assistance to the petitioner in accordance with law,” the court said.