Bombay HC Takes Note of Varavara Rao's Poor Health, Orders His Shifting To Hospital

The court took note of the Telugu poet's critical condition, saying he is almost on his death bed.

New Delhi: The Bombay high court on Wednesday took note of the critical condition of Telugu poet Varavara Rao’s health and ordered that he should be shifted to the Nanavati hospital in Mumbai for 15 days.

Rao, who was arrested in 2018 in connection with the Elgar Parishad case, is lodged in the Taloja jail.

According to LiveLaw, a division bench comprising of Justices S.S. Shinde and Madhav Jamdar observed, “Ultimately the man is on almost death bed. He needs some treatment. Can the state say, ‘No, no we will treat him in Taloja?’.”

The bench ordered that he should be transferred to Nanavati for two weeks, after which the court would assess the situation again. The bench also said that Rao should not be discharged from the hospital without the court being informed, adding that medical reports should also be submitted to the court.

Rao’s family members will be allowed to meet him at the hospital and the court will consider the matter again on December 3.

The court was hearing two petitions. While one was filed by seeking bail for the poet on medical grounds, the second was filed by his wife Hemalata saying that his incarceration was a violation of his right to health and life.

In July, Rao was shifted to the state-run JJ Hospital after a prolonged illness and a serious delay in medical attention. When his family visited him, they found him in a “pool of urine” and Rao seemed to be delirious.

Tests showed that he had contracted COVID-19, and he was shifted to St George’s Hospital. He was later shifted to Nanavati hospital for neurological treatment. In late August, he was sent back to jail after his treatment for COVID-19 was completed.

According to LiveLaw, the bench agreed with senior advocate Indira Jaising’s submission that proper medical examination may not be possible over a video call of 15 minutes and that detailed physical examination under the guidance of specialists was necessary.

Also Read: Varavara Rao’s Continued Custody Amounts to Inhuman Treatment, Says Wife in SC Petition

Public prosecutor Deepak Thakare informed the bench after taking instructions from the government that the state government has no objection if Rao is shifted to Nanavati hospital. However, Thakare submitted that the case should be treated as a special case and not as a precedent.

Additional solicitor general Anil Singh, who appeared for the National Investigation Agency (NIA), objected to shifting to Nanavati Hospital and submitted that the JJ Hospital has sufficient facilities.

Jaising said that there was “reasonable apprehension” that Varavara Rao may die in jail and will not stand trial in the Bhima Koregoan case. She said his medical condition was “highly vulnerable” and that the facilities in Taloja Jail hospital were not sufficient to treat his conditions, according to LiveLaw.

Jaising told the court that Rao is being looked after by Elgar Parishad case co-accused Vernon Gonsalves and Arun Ferreira.

Public prosecutor Thakare suggested that Rao should be shifted to JJ Hospital, where all tests could be conducted. Jaising opposed this suggestion, saying that when Rao was admitted at the hospital in July, he had sustained head injuries.

“I am alleging negligence on the part of the state. If the state is unable to look after him, he needs to be shifted to Nanavati Hospital,” she argued, according to LiveLaw.