New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday said it will hear on July 19 the plea for permanent medical bail of Bhima Koregaon case accused P Varavara Rao and his interim security has been extended till further orders. The 83-year-old, who has challenged the Bombay High Court order dismissing his appeal for permanent medical bail, is currently out on bail on medical grounds and was to surrender today. A bench headed by Justice UU Lalit said, “On a joint request made by the counsel appearing for the parties, the matter be posted as first item on July 19.” “The interim protection availed by the petitioner shall continue … till further orders,” it said.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta had requested the bench to take up the matter for hearing on Wednesday or Thursday. “If it can be subject to the convenience of your possession, then tomorrow or day after tomorrow and whatever protection may continue,” Mehta told the bench, comprising Justices SR Bhat and Justices. Sudhanshu Dhulia is also included.
Senior advocate Anand Grover, appearing for Rao, said the petitioner has to surrender today and the court may extend the interim protection. “He (Mehta) says security can be increased,” the bench told Grover. Mehta requested the bench to extend the interim protection till July 19. “If the matter is not taken up for one reason or another, we do not want a situation where the man is raised,” the bench said.
The case pertains to alleged provocative speeches at the Elgar Parishad conference held in Pune on December 31, 2017, which police claimed led to violence the next day near the Koregaon-Bhima war memorial on the outskirts of the western Maharashtra city. The Pune Police had also claimed that the conclave was organized by people with alleged Maoist links. Later the National Investigation Agency took over the investigation of the case.
In his petition filed against the April 13 order of the Bombay High Court, Rao has said, “The petitioner is an 83-year-old renowned Telugu poet and orator, who has been in jail for more than two years as an under-trial. ” The petition states that “any further imprisonment will sound the death knell for him as aging and deteriorating health is a deadly combination”.
It said Rao had challenged the High Court order as he was not granted bail despite his age and ill health condition, and his prayer to be shifted to Hyderabad was also rejected. Rao was arrested from his Hyderabad residence on August 28, 2018 and is under trial in the case for which the Pune Police registered an FIR on January 8, 2018 under various sections of the Indian Penal Code and Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Was. ) act.
Initially, Rao said that he has been placed under house arrest following the apex court’s order. He was taken into police custody on November 17, 2018 and later shifted to Taloja Jail in Navi Mumbai. On February 22, 2021, the Bombay High Court granted him bail on medical grounds and he was released from jail on March 6, 2021.
Giving a detailed account of his health condition including his suffering in jail, Rao said that the High Court order dated February 22, 2021 had considered that the petitioner may be on medical bail for an extended period and even That can be on permanent medical grounds also. Status supported by medical examination report.
“In the impugned judgment and order, the judges have committed a grave error in proceeding on the ground that since the earlier order granted bail for a limited period, i.e. six months, it (the former bench) was not prepared to grant bail. for an unlimited period,” the petition said. It states that after getting bail, the petitioner’s health had deteriorated and she had developed umbilical hernia for which she had to undergo surgery.
The petition states that he needs to undergo cataract operation in both the eyes, which he has not done as the cost is prohibitive in Mumbai, adding the petitioner is also suffering from neurological problems. “It is submitted that in the totality of circumstances, the trial will take not less than 10 years. In fact, one of the accused in the case, Father Stan Swamy, who was suffering from the same ailments as the petitioner, had already passed away .Testing may begin,” it said.
The High Court dismissed the plea but extended by three months the time for the activist to surrender before the Taloja Jail authorities to enable him to undergo cataract surgery. The high court had said it had found essence in several claims made by Rao’s counsel on the lack of medical facilities and poor sanitation in Taloja jail. The court had directed the Inspector General of Prisons of Maharashtra to submit a “clear” report on the status of such facilities in “particularly Taloja Jail” and all jails across the state.