Dr. Varavara Rao’s bail hearing which has been in progress since January 19 and which continued until January 21, has now been adjourned to January 27. Division bench of Justices SS Shinde and Manish Pitale have been hearing the petition and taking stock of Dr. Rao’s medical condition. Rao was admitted to the Nanavati Hospital on the court’s orders previously in view of his deteriorating health.
Senior Advocate Anand Grover appearing for Dr. Rao suggested that he may be released on an interim bail for 3 months, his conduct be monitored and he be directed to report to some authority, after which he may be allowed to remain on bail. Senior Advocate Indira Jaising has been arguing on violation of human rights of Dr. Rao by prison officials in that they failed to provide adequate medical care thus violating right to health.
“To deny the right to health of a prisoner is an act of cruelty,” Jaising argued and stated that if a person is in custody the state is responsible for the well being of that person. When his medical condition was argued, Justice Shinde pointed out that as per medical reports, he is ready for discharge to which Jaising responded, “You say (Rao) ready for discharge, but what lies beyond discharge, even the doctors have not said that”.
“The purpose of detention would be to rehabilitate the prisoner. No penological purpose would be served by keeping him detained… Everyone has the right to live the last few years of their life with dignity,” she continued.
Public Prosecutor Deepak Thakre submitted that they were willing to admit Dr. Rao to JJ Hospital since there are questions being raised about conditions of Taloja jail hospital.
On January 19, counsel for NIA, Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh and public prosecutor Deepak Thakare had informed the court that Rao’s condition had improved, and that as per the Nanavati Hospital authorities, he was fit to be discharged.
On the Wednesday hearing, Jaising had argued that conditions of Dr. Rao’s detention are “cruel, inhuman, and degrading”. On the same day, Singh assured the court that facilities to protect prisoners from various ailments and diseases have improved and, hence, there was no harm in moving Rao to Taloja jail hospital from Nanavati hospital.
The court has adjourned that matter, after hearing it for 3 days at a stretch and will now continue the hearing on January 27.