Top
Begin typing your search above and press return to search.
News Updates

"Prisoners Have A Right To Their Medical Records Under Article 21: Bombay High Court Says While Hearing Sudha Bharadwaj's plea

Sharmeen Hakim
21 May 2021 2:39 PM GMT
Prisoners Have A Right To Their Medical Records Under Article 21: Bombay High Court Says While Hearing Sudha Bharadwajs plea
x

The Bombay High Court has said that prisoners have a right to their medical records under Article 21 of the Constitution of India, and prison officials should provide the information, on request. Medical records would include tests results and medicines prescribed, the bench of Justices SJ Kathawalla and SP Tavade said. The court was hearing a petition seeking medical attention and...

Your free access to Live Law has expired
To read the article, get a premium account.
    Your Subscription Supports Independent Journalism
Subscription starts from
599+GST
(For 6 Months)
Premium account gives you:
  • Unlimited access to Live Law Archives, Weekly/Monthly Digest, Exclusive Notifications, Comments.
  • Reading experience of Ad Free Version, Petition Copies, Judgement/Order Copies.
Already a subscriber?

The Bombay High Court has said that prisoners have a right to their medical records under Article 21 of the Constitution of India, and prison officials should provide the information, on request.

Medical records would include tests results and medicines prescribed, the bench of Justices SJ Kathawalla and SP Tavade said. The court was hearing a petition seeking medical attention and release of sixty-year lawyer-activist Sudha Bharadwaj, undertrial in the Bhima Koregaon Elgaar-Parishad Case.

The bench said that Bharadwaj and even other prisoners should be allowed to make a phone call to an approved family member after a hospital visit.

"Prisoners have a right to their medical records under Article 21. In view thereof, all medical records, including tests conducted, and medicines prescribed, should be given to the prisoner on request.

Infact, we would go a step further and say that this should be done for every prisoner."

Advocate Yug Chaudhry then submitted that they were not pressing for interim bail as Bharadwaj had received the required medical attention after approaching the court. The court then disposed of the petition, ordering the necessary information to be given to the family.

The bench noted that Bharadwaj's family's main grievance was that they were not given access to her medical records, neither were they allowed to speak to her after hospital visits.

The plea filed by Bharadwaj's daughter Maaysha Singh, invoking Article 226 of the Constitution, stated that the sixty-year-old has diabetes, hypertension, ischemic heart disease, and pulmonary tuberculosis history, is very unwell.

She approached the court after Bharadwaj's three co-prisoners in Byculla tested positive.

Last week, the court sought Bharadwaj's latest medical report from the State Government.

During the hearing on Thursday, Chaudhry said that Bharadwaj was taken for numerous medical tests after the petition was filed, but the family was not being provided medical records. He said this was true for all prisoners. "This will cut down much litigation," he said.

ASG Anil Singh for National Investigating Agency submitted that this is for the State to consider because the prison is under the State. He, however, said that the facility should be extended only to Bharadwaj not everyone.

Ordering Bharadwaj's family access to her medical records and a phone call after every hospital visit, the bench said that all prisoners were entitled to these fundamental rights and disposed of the petition.

Sudha Bhardwaj was taken into custody on August 28, 2018.

Bhima Koregaon Case

The Bhima Koregaon battle was fought between 25,000 mighty Peshwa army and 500 British soldiers, including people from the Mahar (Dalit) community. The names of martyrs in the war are inscribed in the memorial by the British Army.

The hundreds of people visiting the war memorial at Bhima Koregaon were attacked on January 1, 2018, after violence erupted. They were mainly from Dalit community, and one person died in the stone-pelting.

An FIR was registered regarding the violence the same day. However, there has been no substantial progress since.

Another FIR by right-wing activist Tushar Damgude, filed on January 8, 2018 and was pursued. It was alleged that the violence at Bhima Koregaon resulted from inflammatory speeches held at the Elgaar Parishad conference on December 31, 2017.

The scope of the investigation was eventually widened, with the Pune police claiming retrieval of incriminating documents in the form of electronic records. This included an email written by a certain 'R' to Comrade Prakash on April 18, 2017 talking of a "Rajiv Gandhi-type" operation.

The NIA took over the investigation in 2020.

However, recently Arsenal Consulting, a digital forensics consulting company in the USA, concluded that most of the electronic evidence the police has relied on was planted on co-accused Rona Wilson's laptop through Malware.

So far, 16 people have been arrested in the case — Jyoti Raghoba Jagtap, Sagar Tatyaram Gorkhe, Ramesh Murlidhar Gaichor, Sudhir Dhawale, Surendra Gadling, Mahesh Raut, Shoma Sen, Rona Wilson, Arun Ferreira, Sudha Bharadwaj, Varavara Rao, Vernon Gonsalves, Anand Teltumbde, Gautam Navlakha, Hany Babu and Father Stan Swamy.

In the case, most of the accused were neither named in the FIR over the violence nor present during the 2017 event.


Next Story
Share it