New Delhi, Oct 15 (PTI) The wife of Telugu poet and writer Varavara Rao, arrested in connection with the Elgar Parishad-Koregaon Bhima case, moved the Supreme Court on Thursday seeking bail for him, claiming that his continued custody amounted to cruel and inhuman treatment.
The petition, filed by Pendyala Hemalatha, urged the court that during the pendency of the petition, the 81-year-old accused be released on temporary medical bail and be allowed to travel to Hyderabad to be with his family and loved ones.
It sought immediately release of Rao on the ground that “his continued custody amounts to cruel and inhuman treatment, violating Article 21 of the Constitution (life or personal liberty) and violative of his dignity in custody'.
The plea said that he has lost about 18 kg and is suffering from various health issues and is 'basically bed- ridden'.
The plea said: “The health condition of the Petitioner's husband is very feeble and he suffers from various co-morbidities. It is submitted that it is well known that COVID-19 patients do not have similar symptoms. It is further known that COVID-19 hampers all organs including neurological or/ and every patient displays different symptoms.
“When the Petitioner's husband was arrested on August 28, 2018 he had no neurological problems. It is therefore highly likely that COVID-19 and the fall that he had in St. George Hopital has led to neurological problems as reflected in the medical report filed by Nanavati Hospital dated July 30”.
The petition, filed by advocate Sunil Fernandes, said that considering the co-morbidity factors of age, persistent hyponatremia in COVID-19 case, the patient will require close monitoring.
“Earlier when he was discharged, he was advised to undergo sodium test, which apparently had not been done by the Jail authorities,” it said.
It further said, “When the Petitioner's husband was hospitalized on May 27, he was hurriedly discharged on June while his bail plea on the ground of his medical problems and COVID-19 was pending, despite the fact that he needed constant follow up, only to avoid judicial determination of his bail on medical grounds.” It said that Rao was advised tests, which were not done as a result of which his condition continued to deteriorate and on July 13 he was again admitted to J J hospital. “He was tested positive for COVID-19 on July 16 and shifted to St. George Hospital then to Nanavati Hospital. The Petitioner's husband also sustained head injury while he was in St George Hospital after a fall which required stitches,” it said.
It claimed that Rao's health condition continues to be precarious.
“Due to lack of bowel and urine control, the Rao has a catheter urine bag and has to use diapers and is being given swab baths by the co-accused as he is basically bed-ridden,” it said, adding that Rao's mental status is also not sound.
It added that at the time Rao was sent to judicial custody in November 2018, he weighed around 68 kg and his weight is now around 50 kg “which shows drastic weight loss.” Rao and other activists were arrested in the Elgar Parishad-Maoist links case, which was initially probed by the Pune Police and later transferred to the NIA. PTI UK SJK SA