Bombay High Court to Pronounce Its Verdict on Bail Plea Moved by accused Varavara Rao
The Accused Varavara Rao is lodged in Nanavati Hospital after the State of Maharashtra informed the Court of their willingness to shift him to the private hospital as a special case. The Bombay High Court (HC) will soon pronounce its verdict in the plea by Telugu poet Dr. Varavara Rao seeking bail on medical grounds.
The HC besides Rao's plea for bail will also pronounce its verdict on a plea filed by his wife Pendyala Hemlatha for seeking the Court's intervention in view of an alleged violation of his 'fundamental right to health'.
Rao is an accused in the Bhima Koregaon case and he is lodged in Nanavati Hospital and is represented by Senior Advocates Anand Grover and Indira Jaising. Deepak Thakare who is the Chief Public Prosecutor informed the Court that the State Home Minister was willing to shift him as a special case to the private hospital.
The State submitted a fresh set of medical reports to the Court and it preceded the hearing on his bail plea based on medical grounds.
The HC bench comprising of Justices Manish Pitale and SS Shinde asked the advocate to adopt a humanitarian approach considering Rao's constant deteriorating health and his advanced age. Justice Shinde told the counsels that "You make sure to keep in mind the age and health of Dr. Rao. He is above 80 years old. Ensure your submissions take this into account."
On behalf of the accused, the counsels stated that the medical condition of Rao may relapse to a critical state if he is sent back to Taloja Central Prison, and the decision to do so would be against his fundamental right to health.
Two main contentions were put forth by Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh who represented the National Investigation Agency (NIA) that-
a. The jail authorities are capable of providing all medical facilities that were being provided by Nanavati Hospital. On the hypothetical possibility of a medical emergency faced by Rao, bail ought not to be granted.
b. While considering bail application, the seriousness of the offence charged against the accused must be considered.
He further mentioned that the State stepped in whenever medical emergencies arose.
Justice Shinde stated that the Court cannot intervene and it should be the concern of the State and NIA. He recollected the incident pertaining to another Bhima Koregaon accused Gautam Navlakha where he was denied spectacles by the jail authorities when it came from his family.
Justice Shinde further took note of the delay in the trial and added that there are 200 witnesses and that charges are yet to be framed, the trial may take a very long time to even begin. He added, "Mr. Singh, the charges are not yet framed. Speedy trial is also part of fundamental rights."
Justice Shinde also pointed out that if bail is indeed granted to him, then the other accused may also take undue advantage of such an order.
The HC had then reserved its verdict while also extending the interim direction to keep Rao in Nanavati Hospital till the pronouncement of the verdict in the bail plea.