Wife of jailed activist Dr P Varavara Rao moved Supreme Court seeking his immediate bail on Thursday, 15 October. The petition sought his immediate release on the grounds that his continued custody amounts to cruel and inhuman treatment, violating Article 21 of the Constitution of India and violative of his dignity in custody, reported Live Law.
Varavara Rao’s family had raised concern over his health in the past and said that the 80-year-old was not receiving proper care in Taloja jail’s hospital ward. The activist, who has been imprisoned in connection with the Elgar Parishad case, was moved to JJ Hospital in July 2020. He tested positive for COVID-19 at the hospital and developed further health complications.
Rao was shifted to Nanavati Hospital for further treatment after the NHRC intervened, but he was sent back to the prison’s hospital ward on 26 August again.
The petition filed by Rao’s family reportedly alleges that when Dr Varavara Rao was hospitalised on 27 May 2020, he was hurriedly discharged on 1 June 2020 while his bail plea on the grounds of his medical problems and COVID-19 was pending. The family alleged that this was done only to avoid judicial determination of his bail on medical grounds, reported Live Law.
Prior to being lodged in Taloja jail, Varavara Rao was held at Yerawada jail till February 2020. All five of his bail applications have been rejected so far.