The Bombay High Court on Wednesday rejected the permanent medical bail plea of Telegu poet Varavara Rao, an accused in the Bhima Koregaon - Elgar-Parishad Maoists links case.
A division bench of Justices SB Shukre and GA Sanap, however, extended Rao's temporary medical bail for three months to enable him to undergo a cataract surgery. He will have to surrender before the Taloja prison authorities at the end of three months.
The court also dismissed the 83-year-old poet’s plea seeking permission to stay in Hyderabad instead of Mumbai while on medical bail citing financial reasons.
Finding substance in arguments by Anand Grover, Rao’s counsel, regarding lack of medical facilities at the Taloja prison and poor hygiene conditions there, the HC has directed the Maharashtra Inspector General of prisons to submit a "candid" report on the state of such facilities at all prisons across the state and at the “Taloja prison in particular”.
While calling for the report from IG by April 30, the HC said: “The IG prisons must ensure that henceforth, there remain no grounds for inmates to raise grievances on inadequate health facilities in prisons across the state.”
In addition, the NIA special court has been directed to expedite the trial in the Bhima Koregaon case, and to conduct the trial proceedings on a day to day basis.
Rao, who has been out on temporary medical bail since February 2021, had filed three pleas. One seeking that his medical bail be further extended by another six months, second application sought modification of his temporary medical bail conditions wherein he had sought permission to stay in his hometown Hyderabad, Telangana while out on bail.
His third application had sought permanent bail on health grounds till the conclusion of the trial in the case.
Grover had argued that Rao, who has early signs of Parkinson's disease, was living in the Bandra at a conference facility that had been rented out to him by some Christian missionaries.
Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh, appearing for the NIA, had opposed Rao’s applications and sought that he be directed to surrender immediately. NIA’s arguments were that there were hundreds of other inmates who are senior citizens and suffered from health ailments and they continued to remain in prison and were provided with medical care at the prison hospital.