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Grant Varavara Rao Interim Bail For Three Months – His Lawyers Plead Before The Bombay High Court

Sharmeen Hakim
20 Jan 2021 2:44 PM GMT
Grant Varavara Rao Interim Bail For Three Months – His Lawyers Plead Before The Bombay High Court
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Advocates appearing for 81-year-old UAPA accused – Dr Varavara Rao- have for the first time suggested to the Bombay High Court on Wednesday that the ailing Telugu poet be released on temporary bail for three months, his conduct be monitored and he be directed to report to some authority, after which he may be allowed to remain on bail. The suggestion was made before a division bench...

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Advocates appearing for 81-year-old UAPA accused – Dr Varavara Rao- have for the first time suggested to the Bombay High Court on Wednesday that the ailing Telugu poet be released on temporary bail for three months, his conduct be monitored and he be directed to report to some authority, after which he may be allowed to remain on bail.

The suggestion was made before a division bench of Justice SS Shinde and Justice Manish Pitale that sought to know if any accused booked under the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) in India was granted bail on medical grounds.

Advocate Anand Grover appearing on behalf of Rao said that while there was a judgment of the Guwahati High Court that fits the current circumstances perfectly, the court could satisfy itself by first granting Rao temporary bail for at least three months. "He can report to authority the court deems fit because it is also in the prosecution's interest that he be fit for trial."

Rao has been in a private hospital for over a month and the court finally received a report from the hospital that he was fit for discharge and capable of self-care. He however continues to be on medication for various illnesses which include a kidney disease and hypertension among others.

Grover submitted that he was not disputing the report and keeping in Hospital further would continue to burden the ex-chequer, however the Taloja Jail Hospital, where he would be shifted if he wasn't granted bail did not have the infrastructure to handle a severaly ill patient like him.

J Manish Pitale then sought a short affidavit from Rao's counsels on why he could not be kept in Taloja prison, specifically dealing with Nanavati Super Speciality Hospital's observations that Rao was fit for discharge. "You need to state on oath your criticism for Taloja Prison if you want the court to consider it." Justice Shinde added.

During the hearing Grover said he had just one law point to argue. He cited a Guwahati High Court bail order in Redaul Hussain Khan vs NIA to say that the embargo on granting bail in the UAPA Act would not stop the court from granting bail on medical grounds under the Criminal Procedure Code.

Section 43 D(5) of the UAPA Act puts an embargo on granting bail to an accused booked under the Act if the court come to the conclusion that a prima facie case is made out. Grover, however, submitted that the court could still grant bail to an accused under section 437(1) of the CrPC.

Justice Shinde sought to know if the order, and thereby the observation of the Guwahati HC had been challenged. Advocate Paras Nath from the defence's team, who had found the judgment, informed the Bombay High Court that the order was challenged by the accused in the Supreme Court but the petition was withdrawn and therefore the conditions for bail on medical grounds still stand.

When the bench wanted to know if Rao is managing to eat food, his nephew N Venugopal informed the court that while his uncle could eat, only yesterday he was suffering from pains in his chest. "The doctors said it could be acidity and have given him treatment for it," however he added that they suspect there is an issue with the heart valve.

Senior Advocate Indira Jaising who is arguing another petition filed by Rao's wife P Hemlatha for a declaration that Rao's fundamental rights to health, dignity and life, and thereby his rights, under Article 21 of the Constitution of India have been violated by prison officials, will continue her arguments tomorrow.


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