Govt report an eye wash, Varavara Rao needs to be seen by specialist: Indira Jaising

Bombay High Court will conduct physical hearing of Dr. Rao’s bail plea on November 18 to avoid any delays due to technical glitches

Varavara Roa

During the hearing of Dr. Varavara Rao’s bail plea and writ petition seeking his transfer to Nanavati Hospital, the Maharashtra government stated that he was fully conscious and oriented.  Dr. Rao, 80, is one of the accused alleged to have maoist links on the Bhima Koregaon case and has been in prison since June 2018 and since then has been time and again been admitted to JJ hospital owing to his crippling ill health. At the last hearing, the court had ordered for a medical examination via video conferencing  with the participation of doctors from Nanavati Hospital while further clarifying, “If the panel feels that the assessment of the medical condition is not possible on video call, then they can visit the Taloja Jail in consultation of the jail authorities.”

Dr. Rao’s counsel, Senior Advocate Indira Jaising had contended at the last hearing, “I hesitate to make bold statements, but I don’t mind saying this that I apprehend he will lose his life if he continues in jail. He suffers from a neurological condition, he is bedridden, his catheter is not changed for more than 40 days.”

At the hearing on November 17, after hearing the government’s submission that Dr. Rao was conscious and oriented, Jaising lashed out saying, “Rao was not examined by a specialist so how can the video examination tell this court whether he needs to be shifted out of the prison to the hospital?” She even pointed out that the Nanavati Hospital doctors suggested a complete blood count and sonography of the abdomen to be done, which had not yet been carried out.

“The state has yet to get the tests done. Besides, the doctors examined Rao through the video link only for 15 minutes. He needs to be examined by specialists. A neurologist needs to examine him physically and these tests can’t be done at the Taloja prison hospital,” Jaising pointed out.

Jaising called the government report an “eye wash” as it was silent on Dr. Rao’s condition of dementia while stating that the report “did not shed any light on Rao’s neurological condition and the urinary tract infection he is said to have developed while at the Taloja prison.”

The two judge bench of Justices SS Shinde and Madhav Jamdar has accordingly directed the government to file a “complete report detailing the type of medical exam conducted through video conferencing, and all other findings”.

To avoid any further delay and technological glitches, the bench will hear both pleas today, November 18 via physical hearing. “We know the seriousness involved in this matter and that is why we will hear it physically tomorrow itself,” the bench said, as reported by the Deccan Herald.


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