It was informed by Maharashtra State to the Bombay High Court that the state was willing to shift Telugu poet Varavara Rao to Sir JJ Hospital instead of sending him to Taloja Prison Hospital.
Rao is an accused in the Elgar Parishad – Maoist Links case under UAPA. He suffers from various medical conditions and is currently admitted in Nanavati Super Speciality Hospital. A team of experts informed the court last week that he is fit for discharge.
The lawyers arguing on his behalf have repeatedly raised the issue that the prison hospital infrastructure is lacking to monitor his condition and have suggested an interim bail of three months.
Deepak Thakre, the Public Prosecutor said that Rao could be shifted to the prison ward of Sir JJ Hospital which is Ward-44.
Earlier in the hearing advocate Indira Jaising made an emphatic argument on Rao’s wife-P. Hemlatha’s petition that the Fundamental Right to health under Article -21 is in violation here. She asked the court to consider his age stating that “No person above the age of 80 should ever be kept in prison. What life imprisonment means for a person at 80 is vastly different from what it means for a person at 80 is vastly different from what it means for a 25-year-old.
NIA counsel Sandesh Patel informed that in the charge sheet there are 200 witnesses, Jaising raised the argument that by the time they are examined Rao would die in prison, “Take age into consideration as a factor. My job is to present to your justice, as I see it – with mercy.”
She argued that one reason for the improved condition of Rao is that he has been given to this family in the hospital. She stated in court that Rao is not a man who would flee.
Jaising cited the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant for Civil and Political Rights, and the International Covenant of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights along with the Protection of Human Rights Act in her arguments. She also cited the case of Mouisel v France and 13 other Supreme Court judgments to show how the elderly are dealt with as prisoners.
Further arguments in the case would continue on January 27, 2021.