Bombay High Court reserves verdict on Varavara Rao’s medical bail plea


Sushree Mohanty

The Bombay High Court has reserved its order on a plea seeking medical bail for 81-year-old activist Varavara Rao, who was arrested in connection with the Bhima Koregaon case.

Senior Advocate Indira Jaising, while seeking a medical bail contended before the judges that his client needs the support of his family and friends since he is suffering from neurological ailments. 

“He cannot be made to continue in custody till the trial starts as that would take much time to commence. This is a victimless case, he hasn’t killed anyone thus he must be given medical bail,” she argued. She also cited the case of Kanchan Nanaware, a students rights activist accused under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

“Life is dear to everyone, including a prisoner, and the court is here to protect it. The record speaks for itself, out of 365 days in a year he has spent 149 days in the hospital.”, Jaising contested.

The High Court said that the reports of different hospitals, including St. George Hospital, about Rao’s conditions cannot be disregarded. St. George Hospital medical report has also affirmed that the activist has dementia.

The bench comprising Justices Sambhaji Shinde and Manish Pitale has closed the matter for judgment and has allowed the jailed activist to continue his stay at the Nanavati Hospital.

“He is neurologically compromised,” Justice SS Shinde said. “The best treatment is with friends and family.”

Senior counsel Anand Grover, also appearing for Rao, requested the bench to grant his client the permission to be sent back to his family in Hyderabad, on a trial basis for a period of three months combined with genuine conditions. “Everyone is working in the family and all of them take turns to come,” he said

At this, additional solicitor general Anil Singh for NIA contended that the court cannot dismiss the “serious charges” levelled against Rao.

The judges, however, pointed out that speedy trial is a fundamental right of the citizens and the same in this case is yet to begin. They stressed on the fact that there are over 200 witnesses in the case and charges are yet to be framed.

Responding to the bench’s inquiries, ASG Singh said that no beginning of the trial or numerous witnesses couldn’t be a ground for bail. Also, The State Government is willing to shift Rao to J J hospital till he needs medical attention, he added.

Rao is currently admitted to Nanavati Hospital where he is undergoing treatment for various health issues.

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