The Bombay High Court on Wednesday, 13 January asked lawyers appearing in the bail plea of Bhima Koregaon case accused, activist and poet Varavara Rao, to consider his age and health conditions before making their submissions.
The HC bench Justices SS Shinde and Manish Pitale were hearing the plea moved by Rao’s wife Pendyala Hemalatha, seeking relief on medical grounds.
“The petitioner is above 80. Keep in mind his age and health conditions. While making submissions on the bail plea, reflect on his health. We are all humans, this is an issue about his health,” Justice Shinde said.
Nanavati Hospital issued two fresh medical reports for Rao, which Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh, representing the NIA, handed over on Wednesday. Rao’s lawyer, Advocate R Sathyanarayanan, asked the court for some time to study before making his submissions, reported Bar and Bench
The Court has listed the matter for January 19 at 2.30 pm. Rao will continue to stay in Nanavati hospital under medical supervision till the next hearing.
The veteran Telugu poet – who is currently incarcerated in the Elgar Parishad-Maoist links case and has been in Taloja jail, Navi Mumbai since late 2018 – was admitted to Nanavati Hospital on 18 November for poor health after the Bombay High Court directed the Maharashtra government to transfer him to Nanavati Hospital, a private medical facility as a ‘special case’ and not a precedent.
The Maharashtra government has also agreed to bear the cost of his treatment.
According to authorities, 81-year-old Rao’s alleged inflammatory speeches made at the Elgar Parishad conclave held in Pune in 2017 triggered violence between Maratha and Dalit groups near Bhima Koregaon village on 1 January 2018, reported Scroll.
Varavara Rao is one of India’s revolutionary poets and has authored 13 collections of poetry and 16 books of prose, including seven books of literary criticism, in Telugu. A collection of his letters from prison, ‘Captive Imagination,’ was published by Penguin.
(With inputs from Bar and Bench)