19 May 2021 4:24 AM GMT
Father Stan Swamy, an 84-year-old tribal rights activist accused in the Bhima Koregaon – Elgaar Parishad Case, is very unwell, according to a note submitted to the Bombay High Court seeking his immediate release on interim bail. The document is primarily based on Father Stan's friend, Father Joseph Xavier's conversation with him on May 14, where he complained of a cough, fever,...
The document is primarily based on Father Stan's friend, Father Joseph Xavier's conversation with him on May 14, where he complained of a cough, fever, an upset stomach and a feeling of weakness/fragility. Father Stan was unable to come on the telephone line owing to his ill health the following day.
"Father Joseph, who knows him from decades has informed that Father Stan hardly ever complains even if he is undergoing acute pain and the fact that he spoke about his illness is itself an indication that Father Stan's health is very bad and deteriorating," the note states.
While Father Stan was lodged in the Taloja Central prison hospital ever since his arrest in October last year, he was admitted to the state-run JJ Hospital, on Tuesday.
The Jesuit priest represented by senior counsel Mihir Desai filed the note in his appeal against the Special NIA court's decision to reject his emergency bail application on health grounds last October.
The plea seeks his release on interim bail on medical grounds or, in the alternative, house arrest.
During the previous hearing, a division bench of Justices SS Shinde and Manish Pitale directed the State to file a fresh report on his health by May 15. As per the note, the report is yet to be filed.
A coordinate bench will hear the matter today.
Father Stan's medical condition
The plea states that Father Stan is showing symptoms of advanced stages of Parkinson's disease and has debilitating tremors in both arms, which almost impairs him from accomplishing basic and essential daily tasks such as eating food, drink water and putting on clothes and taking a bath, without the assistance of fellow inmates.
It further says that Father Stan cannot walk properly because of which he suffered a fall while using the bathroom. His mobility-related symptoms are so pronounced that he is unable to write or sign, the notes states, adding, that Father Stan also suffers from memory and hearing loss.
According to the note, Father Stan is given different medication from what his neurologist in Raanchi had prescribed.
"It is pertinent to note that while Ole-5 is an antipsychotic drug used in the treatment of schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and mania, the Appellant has not been diagnosed with any of the said disorders.
The Appellant has been prescribed anti-biotics by the said doctor, who it is pertinent to note is not a practitioner of allopathic medicine."
It further mentions that co-accused Associate DU Professor Hany Babu, who recently tested positive for covid-19, was kept in the same prison hospital ward as Father Stan, making the latter a high-risk contact.
"The prison has no facilities whatsoever and is manned by three ayurvedic doctors, and thus unless he is taken to a multispecialty hospital, a proper diagnosis cannot be done.
"Thus, in light of the aforesaid it abundantly clear that the Appellant life is under imminent threat due to his pre-existing medical condition, advanced ages, lack of medical facilities at Taloja Central Prison and a COVID-19 pandemic that has breached the prison walls and has already infected a fellow inmate who was sharing the same hospital ward where the Appellant was also being treated. Thus, the Appellant is entitled to be released on temporary medical bail."
Father Stan was arrested on October 8, 2020, and charged under various sections of the IPC and offences under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act for allegedly furthering the cause of banned CPI (Maoist) through various civil rights organizations, of which he is a part.
Swamy is the conveyor of the Persecuted Political Prisoners Solidarity Committee (PPPSC), one of the most prominent human rights organizations providing legal aid in Jharkhand.
He is also the founder of Bagaicha, an organization dedicated to empowering Adivasis, including fighting against illegal detention of minors charged with being Maoists. The NIA claimed that Bagaicha is connected with Vistapan Virodhi Jan Vikas Andolan (VVJVA) and the latter is also a frontal organization of the CPI (Maoist).
Swamy is facing terror charges along with 15 other human rights activists. The prosecution is primarily based on letters retrieved from co-accused Rona Wilson and accused advocate Surendra Gadling's computer to claim a conspiracy to kill the Prime Minister and overthrow the government.