'Prisoner Also Has Right To Medical Treatment': Bombay High Court While Granting Bail To Naresh Goyal

'Prisoner Also Has Right To Medical Treatment': Bombay High Court While Granting Bail To Naresh Goyal

The court also noted that there was a difference between undergoing treatment as an undertrial prisoner and as a citizen with no restraint. The high court, on Monday, had granted medical bail to Goyal for two months on furnishing a surety of Rs one lakh.

Urvi MahajaniUpdated: Tuesday, May 07, 2024, 09:24 PM IST
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Bombay High Court | File pic

Mumbai: The Bombay High Court, while granting bail to Jet Airways founder Naresh Goyal who is arrested in an alleged money laundering case, has said that a prisoner also has the right to medical treatment and is entitled to dignity.

The court also noted that there was a difference between undergoing treatment as an undertrial prisoner and as a citizen with no restraint. The high court, on Monday, had granted medical bail to Goyal for two months on furnishing a surety of Rs one lakh.

Goyal, 75, had sought bail from the high court on medical and humanitarian grounds as both he and his wife Anita Goyal are suffering from cancer. He had approached the HC after the special court, in February, rejected bail plea but permitted him to be admitted in a private hospital of his choice and seek medical treatment.

Justice NJ Jamadar, after going through Goyal’s medical records, noted that “it would be audacious to hold that the applicant (Goyal) is not sick”. The bench said a prisoner cannot be left in the lurch when he is suffering from a serious ailment only on the ground of a strict provision of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, under which Goyal has been booked.

“A prisoner has the right to have treatment to preserve his health. It is the obligation of the State to provide requisite treatment to a prisoner so as to preserve and protect his health. A prisoner is entitled to the dignity he deserves,” Justice Jamadar said. “There is a qualitative difference between the treatment which a person gets as an under trial prisoner and as a citizen under no restraint.”

The judge refused to accept the Enforcement Directorate’s (ED) argument that Goyal was getting treatment in a private hospital of his own choice and hence was not entitled to be released on bail. “Such a broad submission loses sight of the precious value of personal liberty. To accept such a broad proposition that once a person gets the requisite treatment, he does not deserve bail, howsoever critical his health condition may be, would defeat the legislative intent of enacting the proviso and render the proviso otiose,” the judge underlined.

Goyal has roots in society and hence the possibility of fleeing away from justice and tampering with evidence seems remote, the court added. The bench directed Goyal to pay a surety of Rs one lakh and to not leave Mumbai without prior permission from the trial court. Goyal was arrested by the ED in September 2023 on allegations that he had laundered money and siphoned off loans to the tune of Rs 538.62 crore given to Jet Airways by Canara Bank.

In November 2023, his wife Anita Goyal was arrested when the ED submitted its chargesheet in the case. She was granted bail by the special court the same day considering her age and medical condition.

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