Seeking Rao’s immediate release from detention citing medical grounds and failure by government authorities to provide appropriate medical treatment in jail, Pendyala Hemlathathe wife of the poet-activist Dr.Varavara Rao has moved the Bombay High Court under Article 226 of the Constitution.
The Supreme Court refused to intervene, Rao’s wife approached to high court when instead directing the Bombay High Court to hear an earlier bail plea pending before the High Court at the earliest; the Supreme Court was informed that the pending bail plea had not been heard since September 17.
In petition under Article 226, Rao’s wife stated that the fundamental right to health, dignity and life under Article 21 of the Constitution is been violated by not providing appropriate medical treatment by the state.
Hemlata has also prayed for the compensation, apart from Rao’s immediate release for immediate medical attention on the terms of High Court.
It has been contended in the plea through Advocate R. Satyanarayan that the detention of Rao in Taloja Jail, despite his medical condition, amounts to cruelty.
The petition submits, “Ever since he has been kept in Taloja jail, bed ridden, on diapers and a urinary bag with two co-accused as his 24-hour attendants. He can move only in a wheelchair and is mostly bed-ridden,”
Questions on the role of the State are also raised in the petition for providing medical assistance to the 80-year old Rao, whose physical and mental condition, it has been claimed, is deteriorating.
“Can the State be held responsible for the continuous deterioration of medical health of Petitioner’s husband, who is 81 years of age, and tested COVID positive while in judicial custody, has several co-morbidities and whether the said imprisonment and denial of bail is not a form of cruel and inhuman treatment during the pendency of trial,” the petitioner asks.
A special National Investigating Agency (NIA) court had rejected the interim bail plea in June this year, filed by Varavara Rao along with activist Dr Shoma Sen, both of whom have been booked for their alleged role in the Bhima Koregaon case. Bail plea had been filed before the Bombay High Court which was then opposed by the NIA.
Vacation Bench of Justices AK Menon and SP Tavade will be hearing present plea along with the previous bail plea filed by Rao, today at 3 pm. Senior Advocate Indira Jaising is expected to appear for the activist. Rao has been in the jail since 2018 after his arrest.