The Bombay High Court on Tuesday directed Nanavati Hospital to submit a report on Varvara Rao's health and the line of treatment being given to the 81-year-old Telugu poet and literary critic, who recently tested positive for Covid-19. The octogenarian's family has expressed anxiety and frustration over not being informed about Rao's health or his treatment before various forums.
Division bench of Justices RD Dhanuka and VG Bisht were hearing Rao's appeal against rejection of interim bail and a petition seeking directions to Taloja jail authorities to submit a detailed report along with medical papers of the treatment and course of action followed by them as Rao was kept at the jail hospital after the allegedly hurried discharge from JJ Hospital on June 2, 2020.
Appearing on behalf of Rao, Advocate Sudeep Pasbola submitted that the family is unable to get any information about his health from the hospital or the jail authorities. Pasbola argued-
"Mr Rao is serious and when his family contacts the jail they are told to call the hospital and when the hospital is contacted, they are told to call the jail. What is the secrecy about his health? His family is in Hyderabad so at least a call can be arranged so that they can talk to him at the hospital."
Rao's family has written to the National Human Rights Commission seeking its intervention and to the Home Minister of Maharashtra alleging that they have not received any updates on Rao's health for twelve days.
NIA's counsel Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh said-
"We have no problem if the family wants to talk or meet him. If the hospital permits we have no problem. Nanavati Hospital is the best hospital and there should not be any grievance about his health or treatment."
In response, Advocate Pasbola said that there cannot be any grievance as there is no information about his health. As per the Indian Council of Medical Research secrecy has to be maintained, ASG Singh argued.
At this juncture, the bench asked the State if there is any problem if information is shared. PP Deepak Thakare said that there is no objection to sharing any information to the family and that the hospital can be directed to submit a report.
Thus, the bench directed Nanavati Hospital to submit a report on the health status and treatment being given to Rao. The next date of hearing in the matter is August 7.
Meanwhile, a separate writ petition filed by Vernon Gonsalves and Anand Teltumbde seeking to be tested for Covid-19 after VV Rao tested positive as they came in close contact with Rao, came up before the same bench.
PP Deepak Thakare informed the bench that Vernon Gonsalves has tested negative for Covid-19. Vernon was also entrusted with responsibility of taking care of Rao by the jail authorities.
Whereas, Court directed the State to take instructions regarding tests to be conducted on Anand Teltumbde.
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