Poet-Activist Varavara Rao to Be In Nanavati Hospital Till 7 Jan

Rao, incarcerated in the Bhima Koregaon case, was admitted to Nanavati Hospital on 18 November for poor health.

2 min read
Jailed poet-activist Varavara Rao has been hospitalised for poor health. 

The Bombay High Court on Monday, 21 December has extended jailed poet-activist Varavara Rao’s stay at Nanavati Hospital in Mumbai till the next hearing on 7 January, 2021.

Rao -- who is currently incarcerated in the Bhima Koregaon case and has been in Taloja jail 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 the private medical facility as a ‘special case’ and not a precedent.

The high court bench of Justice SS Shinde and Justice MS Karnik went into session on 21 December to hear the petition filed by P Hemalatha, Rao’s wife, to release him under medical bail.

We Cannot Transfer Him Today: HC

In the hearing, senior advocate Anand Grover, representing Varavara Rao, submitted to the bench that Rao’s ‘health is improving’, but he is ‘being monitored as his BP fluctuates and he is giddy most of the time’, according to the Bar and Bench.

The bench asked Grover whether Rao was getting sufficient treatment, and in response, the senior lawyer said the contention was that “JJ Hospital was overcrowded and understaffed”.

“And the same issue was present in Taloja jail hospital”, he clarified.

Advocate Sandesh Patil appearing for NIA submitted to the court that Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh is on a matter in another court and asked for this hearing to be postponed to another date. They sought the discharge of Rao from the hospital since he had been treated. Chief Public Prosecutor Deepak Thakre representing the jail authorities submitted that Rao was fit and can be discharged from hospital.

The court remarked, “It is also not his contention that the treatment was not proper, his grievance was that it was overcrowded,” to which Thakre said that since it was ‘only his BP, Rao should be transferred to JJ Hospital’.

“We cannot transfer him today. In the next hearing maybe. We haven’t seen his fresh report. We cannot rely on the previous report. We will list it for hearing first day of reopening at a fixed time as an exception, keeping in mind the health of Dr Rao,” said the HC Bench, as quoted by Bar and Bench.

Grover, on instructions of Rao’s daughter, submitted to the bench that they are ‘satisfied with the treatment being given to Rao’. The court posted the next hearing for 7 January and issued an extension of Rao’s stay at the hospital and instructed Thakre to submit fresh medical reports on his condition, saying they are making ‘an exception’ for Rao because of his ‘health conditions’.

(With inputs from Bar and Bench)

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