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Bombay High Court Extends Varavara Rao's Time To Surrender Till Jan 7, Permits Him To Respond To Private Hospital's Medical Reports

Sharmeen Hakim
20 Dec 2021 10:58 AM GMT
Bombay High Court Extends Varavara Raos Time To Surrender Till Jan 7, Permits Him To Respond To Private Hospitals Medical Reports
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The Bombay High Court on Monday extended Telugu poet Varavara Rao's time to surrender before prison authorities till January 7, while posting his application for extension of medical bail for further consideration on January 4. A division bench of Justices Nitin Jamdar and Sarang Kotwal also permitted Rao's counsels to file an affidavit and respond to a private hospital's...

The Bombay High Court on Monday extended Telugu poet Varavara Rao's time to surrender before prison authorities till January 7, while posting his application for extension of medical bail for further consideration on January 4.

A division bench of Justices Nitin Jamdar and Sarang Kotwal also permitted Rao's counsels to file an affidavit and respond to a private hospital's reports concluding that his condition was normal as "he is able to perform activities of daily living."

The court allowed submission of the affidavit after Senior Advocate Anand Grover pointed out Rao was granted medical bail despite the same private hospital filing a similar positive report back then.

Granting Rao medical bail for six months on February 22, 2021, the High Court had held that placing the octogenarian back in custody would be incompatible with his health condition and endanger his life.

On Monday, the private hospital submitted Rao's medical reports, as sought for during the last hearing. Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh for NIA then submitted that Rao must be directed to surrender since he was granted bail for six months. Moreover, his reports have come back normal.

"These cannot be grounds for an extension. His bail was rejected on merits. There are older people in prison; they are also being treated. He can be taken to JJ Hospital. He should be asked to surrender now," he said.

He opposed Grover's request to file an affidavit. The senior counsel then read out specific paragraphs from the order.

"Appreciating the entire material on record, we are of the opinion that the old age, sickness, infirmity and health conditions, as also the admitted sufferings faced by the undertrial during incarceration including infection of Covid-19 virus, lead to a conclusion that upon his discharge from the Nanavati Hospital, placing the undertrial back in custody would be incompatible with his health conditions and it would endanger his life," the court had observed in its order granting medical bail to Rao on February 1, 2021.

Following this, the court granted Grover time till the end of the month to file his affidavit, extended his time to surrender till January 7 and placed the matter for further hearing on January 4.

"Since the division bench had followed this course of action, we permit the applicant, in light of the medical reports placed before us to file an affidavit...."

Background

The High Court granted Rao a six-month medical bail on February 22, 2021. Seeking an extension he cited his delicate health and the high cost of living in Mumbai while on bail.

The NIA has accused Rao and 14 other activists of furthering the banned CPI(Maoist)'s agenda and conspiring to overthrow the government. They are booked under the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) based on letters/emails primarily retrieved from their electronic devices.

As part of a criminal conspiracy, NIA alleged that the Elgar Parishad Cultural Event was organized in Pune on December 31, 2017. The agency alleged that the inflammatory speeches at the event contributed to the caste violence at Bhima Koregaon the following day.

The accused have claimed that while most of them hadn't participated in the event or weren't named in the FIR, the electronic evidence is planted.

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