Mumbai: Observing that 'we are all humans' the Bombay High Court on Wednesday asked the National Investigation Agency (NIA) and the Maharashtra government to consider the 'age and health' of Telugu poet-activist Varavara Rao while making submissions in response to his application seeking bail on medical grounds.
A bench of Justices Sambhaji Shinde and Manish Pitale said, "You (state and NIA) must consider his age i.e. 88 years at present and also his prevailing health conditions."
"When you make submissions to oppose his bail plea, do keep in view his age and health. After all, we all are humans," Justice Shinde added.
The judges, accordingly, posted the bail plea for hearing on Thursday, when the NIA is likely to commence its arguments opposing Rao's plea seeking bail on medical grounds.
The bench was seized with petitions filed by Rao and his wife P Hemalatha, seeking his release from Navi Mumbai based Taloja jail on medical grounds.
In her plea through senior counsel Indira Jaisingh, Hemalatha had claimed that her husband's health deteriorated while in jail and he developed certain complications during his stay in the prison. She alleged that the jail authorities did not take proper care of her husband and accordingly had urged the judges to shift him in a private hospital.
In November last year, the bench led by Justice Shinde had ordered Rao's admission to city-based Nanavati hospital for his post-Covid treatment. Since then, he has been in the hospital and the doctors treating him have been filing periodical reports spelling out his health status.
On the last date of hearing, the report claimed that there has been an improvement in Rao's health and he is now able to walk.
Accordingly, the NIA and the state has been arguing that Rao must be first shifted to the jail and then the HC must consider deciding his bail plea on medical grounds. His family, has, however, urged the judges to first decide the bail plea on medical grounds and only then pass any orders either to shift him to jail or to his house.
Notably, Rao along with dozens of other human rights' activist has been booked for instigating the Bhima-Koregaon violence and also for plotting to kill PM Narendra Modi. They all are also accused of having links with the banned CPI (M).