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Prisoner Doesn't Cease To Be A Human Being, Can't Be Deprived Of Right To Life : Bombay HC Allows Palliative Care Plea Of Alleged Naxal

Sharmeen Hakim
10 Sep 2021 6:49 AM GMT
Prisoner Doesnt Cease To Be A Human Being, Cant Be Deprived Of Right To Life : Bombay HC Allows Palliative Care Plea Of Alleged Naxal
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A prisoner doesn't cease to be a human being to be deprived of his right to life guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution, the Bombay High Court has observed. The bench of Justices SS Shinde and NJ Jamadar observed thus while directing blast accused and alleged Naxal - Nirmala Uppuganti–to be shifted to a hospice from her cell at Byculla Women's Prison. The court...

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A prisoner doesn't cease to be a human being to be deprived of his right to life guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution, the Bombay High Court has observed.

The bench of Justices SS Shinde and NJ Jamadar observed thus while directing blast accused and alleged Naxal - Nirmala Uppuganti–to be shifted to a hospice from her cell at Byculla Women's Prison.

The court directed prison officials to transfer her to the Shanti Avedna Hospice by September 15 and directed them to take her to Tata Memorial Hospital as and when required.

"A prisoner, be he a convict or undertrial or a detenue, does not cease to be a human being, and even when lodged in jail, he is not deprived of his right to life guaranteed to him under Article 21 of the Constitution, which includes the right to obtain medical treatment. A prisoner cannot be deprived of health services as it would violate the guarantee conferred under Article 21 of the Constitution of India," the Court had said during the last hearing.

The court held that Uppuganti, who suffers from metastases(cancer) to liver, bones, lungs and probably leptomeninges, "has a legitimate right to expect palliative care and nursing., which includes the right to obtain medical treatment."

NIA arrested Uppuganti and her husband in 2019, over a month after an improvised explosive device (IED) blast killed 15 personnel of the Quick Response Team and a private vehicle's driver in Gadchiroli, police arrested two senior operatives of the banned Communist Party of India (Maoist): Uppunganti (58) and her husband Satyanarayana (70).

Advocate Payoshi Roy submitted that since the petitioner was terminally ill and cancer had afflicted vital organs of her body, including brain, it became extremely difficult for the petitioner to even move from one place to another. In such circumstances, the petitioner cannot be made to suffer unbearably for want of bare minimum facilities at Prison, she added.

The state's counsel, Sangeeta Shinde, however, had opposed Uppuganti's plea.

The state counsel told the High Court that Uppuganti was accused of a serious offence and was able to move on her own, and had been provided with the help of two other inmates to take care of her in prison.

"However, the prognosis of the disease is usually associated with excruciating and unbearable pain and suffering. In this situation in life, in which the petitioner finds herself, the necessity of palliative care and nursing can hardly be overemphasized," the bench observed.

Case Title: Nirmala Kumari Uppuganti vs State of Maharashtra

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