The Supreme Court on Tuesday extended “till further orders” the interim bail granted by Bombay High Court to 81-year- old poet laureate Vara Vara Rao in the Bhima Koregaon violence.
The interim bail granted by the high court in April this year was to end on Tuesday.
“At the request of the learned counsel, the matter be listed as first item on board on 19.07.2022. The interim protection enjoyed by the petitioner shall continue to ensure to his benefit till further orders,” a bench of Justice U.U. Lalit, Justice S. Ravindra Bhat and Justice Sudhanshu Dhulia after solicitor general Tushar Mehta sought a short adjournment in the matter.
Senior advocate Anand Grover represented Rao in the matter.
Rao has filed the present Special Leave Petition for regular bail citing multiple health complications and recalling the horrific case of 83-year-old Father Stan Swamy, another accused who ironically died on the day his bail application was to be heard.“… any further incarceration would ring the death knell for him as advancing age and deteriorating health are a fatal combination,” Rao’s bail plea stated while arguing that due to his prolonged incarceration “there is every likelihood that he would not survive.”
A native of Hyderabad, the poet known for his revolutionary writings is presently out on interim bail granted by Bombay High Court on medical grounds”, which had however, on April 13, turned down his plea for regular bail on the ground that he was only suffering from cataract problems and the medical facilities at the Taloja Central Jail, Maharashtra, had adequate facilities to take care of his medical condition.
Aggrieved by the high court order, Rao has filed the present special leave petition.
Prior to the grant of his interim bail on medical grounds, Rao has been incarcerated in the Taloja jail since August 24, 2018, following his arrest along with several other activists for the December 31, 2017.
Fr Stan Swamy, a renowned tribal activist and Jesuit priest who was also arrested in the same case and incarcerated in the Taloja Central Jail had on July 5, last year passed away at a private hospital, the day on which his bail application was to be heard by the Bombay High Court — an incident that caused massive outrage among the civil society.
“…In fact, one of the accused in the case, Father Stan Swamy, who was suffering from similar ailments as the petitioner, passed away even before the trial could start. It is submitted that the Petitioner has a right to health and medical treatment under Article 21 of the Constitution of India and the same would be violated if he was subjected to incarceration at Taloja jail,” the petition in the apex court filed through advocate Nupur Kumar stated.
Rao has cited multiple health complications like Parkinson, piles, prostrate enlargement, coronary artery disease, oedema/anasarca, vertigo. hypertension with prostatic hypertrophy, brain atrophy with brain ischemia, cerebral cortical atrophy, migraine and sinusitis, besides recurrent urinary tract Infection (UTI) in support of his bail plea and apprehensions that he would face the same fate of Fr Stan Swamy, if not granted regular bail.
Earlier, the Bombay High Cour while extending his interim bail by three months in April this year (initially granted on February 22 this year) had rejected his regular bail plea on the ground that his health conditions did not warrant grant of regular bail.