Mumbai: The Bombay High Court bench of Justices Shahrukh Kathawalla and Surendra Tawade on Wednesday granted Delhi University professor Hany Babu, arrested by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in the Bhima Koregaon case and lodged in Taloja jail since over a year, permission to be treated at Breach Candy hospital at his own cost.
The order came after GT Hospital authorities informed the court that they are not equipped to examine the ophthalmic artery which has developed a block. Yug Chaudhary, advocate appearing for Babu, pointed out that it could be life-threatening to him.
Chaudhary also pointed out that Hany Babu had developed acute eye infection on May 3 and the swelling had spread to his cheek and forehead, and that Taloja prison authorities did not take him to a hospital as escorts to take him were not available. Taloja prison authorities also did not have the facility to treat him. Babu was later taken to JJ Hospital where he tested positive for COVID-19 and was later shifted to GT Hospital.
GT Hospital superintendent Dr BG Chikhalkar who attended the hearing via video conferencing told the court that Babu was kept in ward no 5 of the hospital since May 13. Dr Chikhalkar informed the court that Babu had redness in the left eye but was getting better. The bench then sought to talk to Babu via a phone call. Babu via the phone call told the court that “the eye was lightly better” and was “getting proper treatment” at the hospital. He said, “I am feeling better.”
After the phone call, Yug Chaudhary pointed out that Babu needs to be treated for superior ophthalmic vein thrombosis and that he should be treated in a multi-speciality hospital. The bench then asked Chaudhary if Babu’s family was willing to pay for the treatment in a private hospital to which Chaudhary replied in the affirmative.
This was objected by Anil Singh, additional solicitor general for the central government, who said that it would set a precedent and others may too may seek similar relief. The bench said that a precedent was already there with respect to Nanavati Hospital (The court was referring to Telugu poet P Varavara Rao being shifted to Nanavati Hospital). The court also said that it was not asking the government to foot the bill, and looking at the current conditions (COVID-19 conditions) such a precedent should not be an issue. The bench ordered that Hany Babu be transferred to Breach Candy hospital by May 20.
“The patient cannot be expected to be transferred every time to carry out different tests. And since the family is willing to foot his bill, Hany Babu to be transferred to Breach Candy hospital by tomorrow.”