Bombay High Court today allowed alleged ‘Urban Naxal’ Varavara Rao, one of the accused in Bhima Koregaon case, to be treated at the Nanavati Hospital in Mumbai for 15 days. The court ordered that the expense of Rao’s treatment at the hospital would be borne by the state government. Rao’s family will be allowed to visit him as per hospital norms. He cannot be discharged from the hospital without prior permission of the court.
#BombayHighCourt order today:— Bar & Bench (@barandbench) November 18, 2020
– #VaravaraRao to be shifted to Nanavati Hospital for tests and treatment immediately, as a special case;
– State will bear the expenses;
– Rao cannot be discharged without informing court;
– Family members allowed to visit, subject to protocols.
The order was passed by a Bench of Justices SS Shinde and Madhav Jamdar while hearing a plea filed by Rao’s wife Pendyala Hemalatha seeking his release from Taloja jail on medical grounds. The court had posted the matter for hearing today after difficulties in the virtual hearing yesterday. During yesterday’ hearing senior Advocate Indira Jaising, appearing for Hemalatha had termed the medical report submitted by the state before the court as “an eyewash”. She told the court that the state had not submitted the complete report and requested him to be admitted to Nanavati hospital.
Rao, who is 80-years-old, is reportedly suffering from dementia and urinary tract infection.
Rao’s bail plea was rejected earlier
On November 12, the High Court had rejected the bail plea filed by Rao’s wife under Article 226 of the Constitution seeking his immediate release on health grounds. The plea was filed after the Supreme Court refused to intervene in the matter and directed the Bombay High Court to hear his pending bail plea at the earliest. In the plea, Hemalatha has alleged that Rao was not being provided appropriate medical treatment by the government and this amounted to a violation of his fundamental right to health, dignity and life under the Constitution.
Refusing to release Rao on bail, a Bench of Justices AK Menon and SP Tavade allowed immediate medical examination of Rao by doctors via video call. The court said that if the medical panel felt that his assessment was not possible on video call, they could be allowed to visit the Taloja jail in consultation with the jail authorities.
Rao was arrested in November 2018 along with nine others in relation to the Bhima Koregaon case which was transferred by Pune police to the National Investigation Agency (NIA). In July this year, the National Investigating Agency (NIA) had accused Rao of attempting to take undue advantage of the Coronavirus outbreak after he applied for bail on grounds of health.