Father Swamy has moved the Bombay High Court challenging the Special NIA court’s orders rejecting his bail applications. According to LiveLaw, the tribal rights activist has filed an appeal against two orders of the NIA court, the first rejecting his emergency bail application on health grounds in October, last year, and the second order dated March 22, 2021, denying him bail on merits.
His plea before the High Court filed through advocate Mihir Joshi, reportedly cites his advanced age and acute Parkinson’s Disease, apart from contending that no case was made out against him in the Bhima Koregaon violence matter.
Father Swamy, while previously applying for bail on medical grounds, had stated that he had undergone two hernia operations and is still suffering from abdomen pain. His plea before the special court read, “He suffers intense pain due to lumbar spondylosis i.e., the tear and wear of the lumbar disc and tremors in both hands due to Parkinson’s. In fact, he has been shifted to the prison hospital and is being taken care of by other inmates.”
Despite this, his bail was rejected and the court held that the collective interest of the community outweighs his personal liberty and also the “alleged sickness” he suffers. Interestingly, while the court did agree that Father Stan was not even present at the Elgar Parishad event at Bhima Koregaon that resulted in violence, his non-presence at the event could not be used as a defence.
Judge Dinesh E. Kothalikar had also concluded that the Jesuit priest was not only a member of the banned organisation, Communist Party of India (Maoist), but was also carrying out activities with the objective of the organisation “which is nothing but to overthrow the democracy of the nation.”
Father Swamy was arrested on October 8, 2020, and charged under various sections of the Indian Penal Code and offenses under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act for furthering the cause of a banned organisation. On April 26, he turned 84.