Bhima Koregaon: Bombay HC grants bail to Varavara Rao for six months
His counsel Indira Jaising had argued that Varavara Rao’s detention served no penological purpose given his age and uncertainty of completion of trial
The Bombay High Court on Monday granted bail to 82-year-old Bhima Koregaon accused Dr. Varavara Rao on medical grounds.
The Court has granted the octogenarian bail for a period of six months.
The order was passed by a Bench of Justices SS Shinde and Manish Pitale in two separate pleas - one by Rao praying for bail and the other by his wife Pendyala Hemlatha – seeking the Court’s intervention in view of the alleged violation of his fundamental right to health, Bar & Bench reported.
The Court had reserved its verdict on February 1.
Pronouncing its verdict today, the Bench held, "We feel that with the condition of the under trial, it would be inappropriate to send him back (to jail). It would be appropriate to impose such conditions."
Rao has been granted bail on the condition that he has to stay within the jurisdiction of the Special NIA Court. He was also directed not to indulge in any activities or similar activities which led to the registration of the FIR.
Just as the Court pronounced the verdict, Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh sought a stay on the order for three weeks. However, the Court rejected this plea.
Rao's wife had initially approached the Supreme Court, which denied relief and directed her to approach the High Court instead.
Rao 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 a private hospital as a special case.
During the hearing of the case, the Court had requested the lawyers to adopt a humanitarian approach while arguing, 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.
Senior Advocates Anand Grover and Indira Jaising had appeared for Rao.
They expressed apprehension that the medical condition of Rao may relapse to a critical state if he is sent back to Taloja Central Prison, and that the decision to do so would be against his fundamental right to health.
Grover argued that the Taloja prison hospital is ill-equipped to deal with Rao’s critical condition if and when he relapses to his previous critical state.
Jaising submitted that Rao’s condition of detention was cruel, inhuman and degrading.
Her argument was that Rao’s detention served no penological purpose given his age and uncertainty of completion of trial, since the purpose of detention is to reform a person and put him back in society.
Published: 22 Feb 2021, 11:37 AM