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'I Would Rather Suffer, Possibly Die Very Shortly If This Were To Go On' : Stan Swamy Pleads For Interim Bail In Bombay HC

Sharmeen Hakim
21 May 2021 8:58 AM GMT
I Would Rather Suffer, Possibly Die Very Shortly If This Were To Go On : Stan Swamy Pleads For Interim Bail In Bombay HC
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"Only one thing that I would request the judiciary is to consider for interim bail. That is the only request", he said.

Father Stan Swamy, an 84-year-old tribal rights activist, who is an undertrial in in the Bhima Koregaon- Elgar Parishad case, pleaded with the Bombay High Court to grant him interim bail to go back to his home in Ranchi. He told a division bench led by Justice SJ Kathawalla that his health has progressively deteriorated in the eight months he has spent a Taloja Prison. Adding that being...

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Father Stan Swamy, an 84-year-old tribal rights activist, who is an undertrial in in the Bhima Koregaon- Elgar Parishad case, pleaded with the Bombay High Court to grant him interim bail to go back to his home in Ranchi.

He told a division bench led by Justice SJ Kathawalla that his health has progressively deteriorated in the eight months he has spent a Taloja Prison. Adding that being in Taloja has brought him to a situation where he can neither eat, write, bathe or go for a walk by himself.

Swamy asked the court to consider how this happened. He, however, refused to get admitted to the State-run JJ Hospital, saying that he would prefer the Taloja Prison ward where he's lodged since his arrest.

He interacted with the court via video conferencing based on the court's direction on Wednesday.

"No, I would not want to. I have been there thrice. I know the set-up. I dont want to be hospitalised there. I would rather suffer, possibly die very shortly if this were to go on. I would prefer this, than be admitted at the JJ Hospital. It is a very difficult moment for me."

Swamy later refused to get admitted to any other hospital either, requesting the court for interim bail to be with his own.

"Whatever happens to me, I would like to be with my own", he said.

Senior Counsel Mihir Desai assisted by advocate Mihir Joshi sought time to interact with Swamy personally to convince him for hospital admission before pressing for interim bail. The matter was adjourned to June 7.

The complete interaction :

On Wednesday, the bench had directed the Dean of JJ Hospital to constitute a committee to examine Swamy's heath. His report was submitted to the court today.

Justice Kathawalla first asked Swamy if he was taken to JJ Hospital.

Throughout the entire interaction, a person sitting beside Swamy explained to him what the court was asking.

"I am Stan Swamy. Yesterday, I was examined in several places. But what I want to say is that I was brought here eight months ago. When I came to Taloja, whole systems of my body were very functional, but during these eight months there has been a steady by slow regression of whatever my body functions were.

Eight months ago, I would eat by myself, do some writing, walk, I could take bath by myself, but all these are disappearing one after another. So Taloja Jail has brought me to a situation where I can neither write nor go for a walk by myself. Someone has to feed me. In other words, I am requesting you to consider why and how this deterioration of myself happened. Yesterday I was taken to JJ Hospital, so I got an opportunity to explain what I should be given. My deterioration is more powerful than the small tablets that they give" - the octogenarian told the bench.

After Swamy vehemently refused to get admitted to JJ Hospital, Justice Kathawalla asked if he would agree to get admitted to any other hospital.

Desai said that Swamy is probably assuming to he will be taken to a government hospital. "He is in the prison hospital since 6months. The problem with prison hospital is that they don't have anything - no medical practitioner, no facility", Desai submitted.

But Swamy said he was only asking the judiciary to consider interim bail.

"Only one thing that I would request the judiciary is to consider for interim bail. That is the only request."

Desai tried to explain to Swamy that the question of bail would be decided later. "Right now, it may not be possible to send you to Ranchi. If you could agree to get admitted to, say Holy Family Hospital, then we can see."

"I don't think it would make any difference. Whatever happens to me, I would like to be with my own," Swamy said.

Desai then requested the bench for liberty to approach the court again if Swamy agrees to be hospitalized.

"Since Mr Swamy seems to have taken the "forgive them for they know not what they are doing" approach," he said. The bench agreed.

In its order the court noted,

"We have also spoken to Mr Swamy and we have observed that he has severe hearing problem. He is unable to hear even the person sitting next to him. He could hear only when the person sitting next to him conveyed.

We keep the matter on June 7. Till then Taloja Jail is directed to strictly follow the recommendations of the JJ Hospital committee as well as the facilities mentioned."

Background

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 facing charges along with 15 other human rights activists.

[Stan Swamy vs UOI]


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