Gurjit Kaur’s Medical Condition Cannot Be Published,’ Says Delhi High Court

A Division Bench of the Delhi High Court on Monday restrained the publisher and author of the book titled ‘Will Power’ from publishing any content related to a medical condition and related material of Indian hockey player Gurjit Kaur.

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Hockey India player Gurjit Kaur or the plaintiff today challenged the single bench order which had refused to stay the launch of a book titled ‘Will Power’ having confidential information related to her medical condition. ‘Will Power’ is authored by Sjoerd Marijne, former coach of the Indian women’s hockey team.

The Division Bench of Justice Siddharth Mridul and Justice Amit Sharma on Monday while ordering to restrain the author and publisher about medical material of the plaintiff also said that that as the coach of the national team hockey, the coach/author is clearly and unequivocally bound by the code of conduct which evidently precludes them from disclosing or divulging the said information to third parties.

The bench while listing the matter for December 15, 2022, restrained Harper Collins Publishers India Pvt Ltd and Marijne/author from publishing the book or any other related matter so far as it relates to Kaur’s medical condition.

Meanwhile, on September 15, the single bench of Justice Amit Bansal refused to stay the launch of a book authored by Sjoerd Marijne, former coach of the Indian women’s hockey team. The book was scheduled to be released on September 21, 2022.

The plaintiff Gurjit Kaur, a hockey player, stated that in the book, the author/Sjoerd Marijne had divulged certain confidential information that was shared by the plaintiff with him in confidence. At the same time, he was the coach of the Indian hockey team. The said confidential information relates to a medical condition the plaintiff is stated to have been suffering from.

Counsel for the plaintiff contended that divulging such confidential information amounts to a violation of the Code of Conduct of Hockey India, which has been signed by the author and former coach.

The bench of Justice Amit Bansal in the order passed stated, “I am not inclined to pass an ad interim order staying the launch of the book, without giving the defendants (author and publisher) an opportunity to place their stand on affidavit.

“There cannot be any confidentiality or privacy with regard to a medical condition of a sports personality. On a regular basis, there are news reports about injuries and medical conditions of sports personalities. Reference may be made to the compilation of such articles handed over by the counsel for the defendant in court.

If the plaintiff has been playing with this medical condition for many years, the medical condition cannot remain confidential. The manuscript of the book reveals that the plaintiff told all other teammates of this medical condition and they all rallied around her, noted the court.

There are laudatory references to the plaintiff in the manuscript of the book that despite the medical condition of the plaintiff, she has achieved success in the international field. Therefore, for all the aforesaid reasons, no prejudice can be caused to the plaintiff by the publication of the book. Therefore, the balance of convenience requires that no ad interim order is passed staying the release of the book, said the single bench.

Note: This news piece was originally published in and used purely for non-profit/non-commercial purposes exclusively for Human Rights.

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