The Bombay High Court on Wednesday issued an order to shift poet and activist Varavara Rao to the Nanavati Hospital immediately for 15 days, as a special case.
“Ultimately, there is a man on death bed. If he is 82 years and has serious diseases, they will come to court. Can the State say no then?” the court noted.
Stating that the state will bear his medical expenses, the court said that his family can visit him according to the hospital protocols and he cannot be discharged without consulting the court, the Live Law reported.
The case will be heard next on December 3.
Read the order passed by the Bombay High Court allowing the shifting of Varavara Rao from Taloja prison to Nanavati Hospital.
— Live Law (@LiveLawIndia) November 18, 2020
The Maharashtra government agreed to shift Rao to the Nanavati Hospital for treatment after the High Court bench comprising Justices SS Shinde and Madhav Jamdar observed a tremendous load on the government hospitals.
The hearing was based on a bail petition filed by his wife Hemalatha Rao, on medical grounds after the Supreme Court told high courts to exercise their jurisdiction to uphold personal liberty during the hearing of Republic TV chief editor Arnab Goswami’s bail plea on November 11.
The court on November 12 had asked for the latest medical reports to be submitted to help decide on Rao’s bail plea. The last report submitted was from July, the court had noted. The court, at the time, had also ordered a panel of doctors from Mumbai’s Nanavati Hospital to examine Rao over a video call and visit him physically at the jail, if necessary.
Seeking urgent medical attention for Rao, his lawyer Indira Jaising, during the hearing on Wednesday said that he was suffering from dementia, low sodium levels, kidney and liver failure, and had recovered from Covid-19. She said that his catheter had not been changed for months and he had already suffered a heart attack.
“The purpose of detention is to ensure no one flees justice. He is bedridden inside the jail!” she remarked.
“He has brain atrophy, his kidneys have failed… What more do I need to show? We do not have clinical reports to show your Lord,” Jaisingh said.
Addressing Rao’s wife’s primary complaint that the poet was suffering from a urinary tract infection, Jaisingh added that Rao’s latest medical reports have mentioned a contaminated urine sample.
The Telugu poet, who was arrested in relation to the Bhima Koregaon case in July 2018, was denied bail on November 12. In January 2018, violence broke out during the annual celebration called the Elgar Parishad at Bhima Koregaon, a panchayat village in Maharashtra, to mark the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Bhima Koregaon. The police had alleged that Rao, along with four other activists, had links with Maoists, who backed the event that led to the violence.