Consider Varavara Rao’s age, health while arguing against bail plea: Bombay HC to NIA

The court further extended his hospital stay while taking on record his medical reports filed by the hospital

Varavara Roa

The Bombay High Court commented, during the hearing of Dr. Varavara Rao’s bail plea, that the government and the NIA should take into consideration his age and ailing condition while arguing against the plea. The next hearing is scheduled for January 19, as per court’s orders. It is expected that on the next date, parties will make submissions with regards to the bail plea.

“The petitioner (Rao) is 88 years old. Keep in view his age and health conditions. While making submissions on the bail plea, reflect on his health. We are all human beings,” Justice SS Shinde who is hearing the case along with Justice Manish Pitale reportedly said.

At the previous hearing, on January 13, the bench had extended Dr. Rao’s hospital stay and that order continues as of now, as per court’s orders. Nanavati Hospital, where Dr. Rao is currently receiving treatment, submitted Rao’s medical reports to the court in a sealed envelope which were taken on record and court directed that the copies be provided to all parties.

Apart from the bail plea on medical grounds, the court is also hearing a petition filed by Dr. Rao’s wife P Hemalatha alleging violation of his fundamental rights due to his continued incarceration, without proper medical care in prison.

On November 18, the Bombay High Court Division Bench of Justices SS Shinde and Madhav Jamdar directed that Dr. Rao be shifted to Nanavati Hospital for two weeks, while still being in NIA custody. But the court had directed that he should not be discharged from the hospital without informing the Court and that the court would examine his medical reports. Senior Advocate Indira Jaising had argued for Dr. Rao’s release stating that even under Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, an accused is entitled to bail and his detention amounted to cruelty, “Death is inevitable. But everyone wants to exit in a dignified manner,” she had argued.

Dr. Rao a Telugu revolutionary poet was arrested under stringent charges of the Unlawful Activities (prevention) Act, in 2018 after his home was raided by the Pune police, for allegedly being involved in planning and instigating the Bhima Koregaon violence on January 1, 2018. He was initially kept under house arrest as per the apex court’s order but in 2019, he was taken under custody and lodged in Pune’s Yerawada jail where other accused in the case, Vernon Gonsalves and Gautam Navlakha have also been incarcerated.

The court order may be read here.



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