Varavara Rao’s wife moves SC seeking his release on bail, says he is being treated inhumanely
She has stated in her petition that he “is in no position to stand trial in his present condition and needs critical medical care to keep him alive”
Pendyala Hemlatha, the wife of activist-poet Dr P Varavara Rao, who is an accused in the Bhima Koregaon case, has moved the Supreme Court seeking his release on bail on medical grounds, claiming that Rao is being treated inhumanely by authorities.
The plea states that the continuous custody of Rao "amounts to cruel and inhuman treatment, violating Article 21 of the Constitution of India and violative of his dignity in custody, which said right has been violated by the state of Maharashtra and NIA."
It urges the court to direct either that Dr Rao be set at liberty or that he be granted temporary bail on medical grounds so that he can be with his family in Hyderabad.
In view of the activist having been recently infected with COVID-19, the plea adds, "It is further known that COVID-19 hampers all organs including neurological or / and every patient displays different symptoms. When the Petitioner’s husband was arrested on August 28, 2018, he had no neurological problems. It is therefore highly likely that COVID-19 and the fall that he had in St. George Hopital has led to neurological problems as reflected in the medical report filed by Nanavati Hospital"
Dr Rao's wife has claimed that he "has been forced to live in inhumane conditions which is evident from the fact that as per the call from the co-accused to his family, Dr. Varavara Rao has been suffering from urinary infection due to the urine bag which hasn’t been changed for the past 40 days."
The plea points out that the chance of commencement of trial in the immediate future is bleak and charges are yet to be framed. Thus, it is submitted that there is a case for grant of bail.
Hemlatha claims that she received a letter on August 31, 2020, from her husband where he appeared to be under the belief that Hemlatha was dead and that her body was at a morgue.
"Sadly the letter is written to his wife, the Petitioner. This itself shows the mental status of the Petitioner’s husband," reads the plea.
Dr Rao's wife states that he "is in no position to stand trial in his present condition and needs critical medical care to keep him alive."
"No useful purpose is being served by his continued incarceration except to torture him beyond human endurance. All bail applications are by definition urgent and ought to be given priority in hearing by all judicial authorities especially in the time of COVID 19," reads the plea.
Earlier in June, a special National Investigating Agency (NIA) court had rejected the interim bail plea filed by Varavara Rao and activist Dr Shoma Sen both of whom have been booked for their alleged role in the Elgar Parishad case / Bhima Koregaon case.
Another bail plea was moved in the Bombay High Court. The NIA, while opposing the bail plea, had claimed that none of the grounds cited “necessitate him to immediately obtain treatment in [a] multi-specialty hospital”.
In a 172-page affidavit filed before the Bombay high court, the agency had claimed that the veteran activist is taking “undue benefit of his situation” in seeking bail from the court.
Rao has been in jail since his arrest in June 2018 for his alleged role in the Elgar Parishad-Koregaon Bhima case in Maharashtra.