In bail plea by Bhima Koregaon accused Varavara Rao, Bombay High Court given his verdict tomorrow.

In bail plea by Bhima Koregaon accused Varavara Rao, Bombay High Court given his verdict tomorrow.

In bail plea by Bhima Koregaon accused Varavara Rao, Bombay High Court given his verdict tomorrow.

The Bombay High Court will pronounce its judgment on Monday at 11 AM in the plea by Telugu poet Dr. Varavara Rao seeking bail on medical grounds.

Rao is presently lodged in Nanavati Hospital after the State informed the Court their willingness to shift Rao to the private hospital as a special case. The verdict will be pronounced at 11 am tomorrow.

Besides Rao’s plea for bail, the Court will also pronounce its verdict on a plea filed by his wife Pendyala Hemlatha seeking the Court’s intervention in view of alleged violation of his “fundamental right to health”.

Rao an accused in the Bhima Koregaon case is presently lodged in Nanavati Hospital after Chief Public Prosecutor Deepak Thakare informed the Court that the State Home Minister was willing to shift Rao to the private hospital as a special case.

After fresh set of medical reports were submitted to the Court by the State, the Court proceeded to hear his bail plea on medical grounds.

A Bench of Justices SS Shinde and Manish Pitale requested the lawyers to adopt a humanitarian approach while arguing their case considering Rao’s deteriorating heath and advanced age.

“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,” Justice Shinde had told both counsel.

The lawyers expressed apprehension 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.

Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh appearing for the National Investigation Agency (NIA) advanced two main contentions:

That 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.

That while considering bail application, the seriousness of the offence charged against the accused must be considered.

His argument was that the State stepped in whenever medical emergencies arose.

Justice Shinde had, however, said that should be the concern of the State and NIA and not the Court.

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.

“Now he cannot even see. We are not saying it is ill-intentioned. But it is a mistake of the jail authorities. When it comes to fundamental rights, it is not adversarial litigation, it is the duty of the State.”

The Court also took note of the delay in the trial with Justice Shinde pointing out that considering there are 200 witnesses and that charges are yet to be framed, the trial may take a very long time to even begin.

“Mr. Singh, the charges are not yet framed. Speedy trial is also part of fundamental rights,” he said.

However, when Grover informed the Court that Rao’s relatives have to take leave from their jobs to come look after him in Bombay and hence he should be sent back to Hyderabad, the Court replied that only Rao’s health will be considered while releasing Rao from detention and not his relatives’ convenience.

Justice Pitale also chimed in saying that the trouble caused to Rao’s relatives will no longer continue if Rao is sent to JJ Hospital, where he purportedly will be given a special room in the prison ward. Here, he can be monitored and his relatives can visit him.

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 Court 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.

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