Re-examine Hany Babu, submit report by June 14: HC to hospital

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Mumbai, Jun 3 (PTI) The Bombay High Court on Thursday directed the city-based private hospital where academician Hany Babu, an accused in the Elgar Parishad-Maoist links case, has been admitted to re-examine his health and submit a medical report by June 14.

Until then, Babu, an assistant professor at the Delhi University, will continue undergoing treatment at the Breach Candy Hospital in south Mumbai, it said and added that medical bills will be paid by his family.

During the hearing on a plea seeking interim bail on health grounds and medical aid for Babu, the HC also objected to a news article on his co-accused, Stan Swamy.

The hospital submitted a report before the HC on Thursday stating Babu had been provided treatment for COVID-19 and an eye infection, and was now fit for discharge.

Babu's lawyer, senior advocate Yug Chaudhry, however, urged the HC not to send Babu back to the Taloja Central Prison yet.

The academician was lodged in the jail in Navi Mumbai as an undertrial before he was shifted to the hospital.

A bench of Justices SS Shinde and Abhay Ahuja initially said since the hospital had declared Babu fit for discharge, the HC could not force the private medical facility to continue giving treatment to Babu and keep him admitted.

Advocate Sandesh Patil, a counsel for the prosecuting agency, the National Investigating Agency (NIA), opposed Chaudhry's request and said Babu must be sent back to prison.

Chaudhry, however, urged the HC to not send Babu to prison and instead place him under house arrest.

'He (Babu) doesn't need critical care anymore but that doesn't mean he's fully well. He is ready for discharge but don't send him back to prison. Put him under house arrest,' Chaudhry pleaded.

'Please don't send him back to prison, he has just recovered from COVID-19,' he said.

The bench then said it would have to hear Babu's plea for bail on merits.

It said since Babu had been charged under stringent provisions of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), an-anti terror law, all parties would have to be heard on merits.

In the meanwhile, Babu could be shifted to the state- run JJ Hospital in Mumbai, the HC said.

The bench then pointed out that a colleague of advocate Chaudhry had recently written an article on Babu's co-accused, Stan Swamy, for a national newspaper.

It asked how Chaudhry or his colleagues could have written something for a newspaper when they were appearing for the 'same group' of cases.

Justice Shinde said the court felt the news article was a way of 'pressurising the court.' 'Someone has brought it to our notice. If you or your associates appearing in the matters can succeed by writing articles in newspapers, criticise the judiciary and executive in newspapers you can succeed,' the HC said.

'If you, as an officer of the court, do not have faith in the judiciary, how can you assist us?' the bench asked.

Advocate Chaudhry, however, pointed out that he neither appeared for Swamy in any case, nor was he the author of the said news article.

He asked if the court was suggesting that the judiciary must not be criticised at all? Chaudhry further said he had a right to write for any publication, and to approach courts for relief at the same time.

'In matters sub-judice in court, where you have appeared, how can you write? the bench asked.

'Is your Lordship saying it cannot be criticised, or that I can't write? I will continue writing, and coming to court for relief. Both are my rights,' Advocate Chaudhry said.

He further said his client could not be denied a fair order on account of the news article.

At this the bench said that was not what it had meant while referring to the news article.

'All we are saying is that have faith in the judiciary,' the bench said.

The HC then suggested that the Breach Candy Hospital re-look at Babu's health condition.

'Let them re-examine him and submit a report by June 14,' the HC said.

The bench was hearing a plea filed by Babu's wife Jenny Rowena, through advocate Chaudhry, seeking interim bail on health grounds and medical aid for Babu.

Babu was arrested by the NIA in July 2020.

On May 19, the HC permitted Babu to be shifted to the Breach Candy Hospital for medical treatment at his own cost.

The HC will hear arguments on merits on the plea on June 15. PTI AYA RSY RSY

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