Bom HC | Allow entry in Goa for medical emergency even without Covid negative certificate; HC modifies its earlier order. Deprecates DMs for amending Court orders on their own

Bombay High Court: The Division Bench of M.S. Sonak and Nitin W. Sambre, JJ. observed that the two DMs of Goa had carved out exceptions in the order of the Court regarding non-entry in Goa without Covid negative certificate. The Bench stated, the magistrates are bound by Courts order and they cannot modify the same on their own.

On 06-05-2021, the Court had issued an interim Order to the State Administration to ensure that no persons are permitted entry into the State unless they possess a negativity certificate obtained within 72 hours from the time they seek entry into the State. It was made clear that until this interim order is modified a negativity certificate will be a must for entry into the State of Goa.

Despite the aforesaid, the District Magistrates had carved out an exception for persons entering in Goa for a medical emergency on production of proof or coming in an ambulance. Similarly another District Magistrates had issued orders covering several aspects, including inter alia the aspect of entry of persons into the State of Goa. Clause 2(c) of these orders reads as follows:

2. The following activities will be prohibited: (a) …….. (b) …….. (c) Inter-State movement for tourists from 10th May onwards (people who are residents of Goa or are entering Goa for work, or who have with them the full vaccination certificate or Covid negative test report for a test done a maximum of 72 hours prior to entering in Goa will be permitted). (d) ………

Noticing that despite its clear and unambiguous Order, the two District Magistrates either on their own or otherwise, had proceeded to carve out exceptions in favor of residents of Goa entering into the State; the Bench said,

The District Magistrates were bound by our Order and could not have by themselves or otherwise modified our order or refused to comply with our orders.

However, the Bench made an exception to its earlier order in respect of persons entering in Goa for medical emergency on production of proof or those who are coming in an ambulance. The Court directed the District Magistrates liberty to amend their impugned orders. On the submission of Advocate General that the impugned orders will be amended by evening, the Bench stated, “irrespective of whether such amends are made or not from the midnight intervening 11th and 12th May 2021, the State Administration shall ensure that no person who does not possess a Covid negativity certificate based on a test done a maximum 72 hours before seeking entry into Goa, will be permitted to enter into Goa.

The only exception shall be for persons entering in Goa for medical emergency on production of proof or those who are coming in an ambulance.

Consequently, the State Administration was directed to ensure the compliance.

[South Goa Advocates Assn. v. State of Goa,2021 SCC OnLine Bom 695 , decided on 11-05-2021]

Kamini Sharma, Editorial Assistant has put this report together

Appearance before the Court by:

For the Petitioners: Adv. Nikhil Pai

For the State of Goa: AG D.J. Pangam with Adv. Ankita Kamat,
For the Union of India: ASG P. Faldessai and SC R. Chodankar,


Bom HC| “Not a case of sealing the borders”; HC tells State to ensure person entering in Goa carry a Covid-19 “negative” certificate

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