Bhima Koregaon Case: 83-Year-Old Stan Swamy Tests COVID Positive
Bombay HC Friday asked the Maharashtra govt to transfer Father Stan Swamy, to the Holy Family Hospital for 15 days.
Days after the Bombay High Court ordered 80-year-old human rights activist Father Stan Swamy to be shifted to a private hospital to treat his existing ailments, he tested positive for COVID-19.
The Bombay High Court on Friday ordered the Maharashtra government to immediately transfer ailing octogenarian priest and Koregaon-Bhima case accused to a private hospital for 15 days, in view of his deteriorating health. Swamy, a patient of Parkinson’s disease, had been suffering from fever, severe cough, headache and upset stomach for the past few weeks.
Swamy was arrested last year on 8 October in the Bhima Koregaon case under the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) and has languished in Taloja Jail since.
Father Stan Swamy Shifted to Holy Family Hospital
At a special urgent hearing, a division bench of Justice S.S. Shinde and Justice N.R. Borkar said that although Sir J. J. Hospital - where Swamy is current admitted - is well-equipped and medically staffed, it may not be feasible to give proper attention to him, owing to the present Covid-19 pandemic influx of patients.
Accordingly, the court directed that Swamy should be shifted to the Holy Family Hospital in Andheri, preferably on Friday itself, and be admitted there for 15 days.
As per an undertaking by the accused's counsel, senior advocate Mihir Desai, the court said that Swamy would bear all his medical treatment expenses.
The hospital authorities were also asked to provide an attendant in view of his advanced age, besides a policeman for his security.
The bench's directions came on a plea for temporary medical bail filed by the priest, challenging two earlier orders by a special NIA court rejecting his bail application.
‘I Would Rather Die Here’: Stan Swamy
On 21 May, Stan Swamy virtually joined the hearing for his bail plea before the Bombay High Court from the Taloja Central Prison.
Expressing a strong mistrust in the treatment given to him, Swamy refused the court’s suggestion to be shifted to the state-run JJ Hospital and said, “I have been there twice. I am not for being hospitalised in JJ Hospital. It will not improve, it will keep going. I would rather die here very shortly if things go on as it is.”
Representing the tribal rights activist, senior counsel Mihir Desai sought for an adjournment to speak and convince Swami for treatment.
Desai on Friday submitted that Swamy was ready to undergo treatment at the Holy Family Hospital.
Govt Opposed Swamy’s Admission in Private Hospital
Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh, representing the NIA, argued that there was no need to admit the accused to the Holy Family Hospital since Sir J.J. Hospital has all facilities to care for patient, and admitting an accused to a private hospital may set a wrong precedent.
Strongly opposing Desai's plea for allowing a friend of Swamy to remain with him as he had no other family, Singh said that the hospital staff was enough to take care of him.
After considering all submissions and arguments, the court ruled that Swamy can be admitted to a private hospital of his choice and also allowed a friend, Father Frazer Mascarenhas, to visit him in hospital as per the hospital protocols.
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