Breaking: Supreme Court Grants Permanent Medical Bail To Varavara Rao, Directs Him To Remain In Mumbai
Supreme Court Grants Permanent Medical Bail To Varavara Rao, Directs Him To Remain In Mumbai.
The Supreme Court has granted permanent medical to Varavara Rao by allowing his appeal against the order of the Bombay High Court. However, the Court clarified that Rao shall not leave Mumbai.
The Supreme Court's Bench comprising of Justice U. U. Lalit, Justice Aniruddha Bose and Justice Sudhanshu Dhulia noted in the order that it need not go into the rival contentions since the appellant is 82 years old and has spent 2 and half years in custody, leaving aside the benefit of bail granted. Though the charge sheet has been filed, some of the accused are still not apprehended and the petitions by some accused seeking discharge are pending consideration, the Court noted in its order.
"The medical condition of the appellant has not improved to such an extent over a period of time that the facility of bail granted earlier be withdrawn. The appellant is entitled to relief of bail on medical bail. We delete the condition limiting relief in terms of time", the Court ordered.
Senior Advocate Anand Grover appearing for Rao explained his health issues. He told the Bench that the trial has not started and it will at least take 10 years to finish if it starts today.
Justice Lalit asked, after the facility of bail was granted, where was he? Maharasthra or Hydrabad? Hyderabad, replied Grover. Grover told the Court that Rao has a pension of 50 thousand and the medical expenses in Mumbai are very high and his wife is suffering from mental issues.
Additional Solicitor General S. V. Raju appearing for the NIA submitted in reply to a query that the maximum punishment that Rao may get in the case is death sentence. On a query by the Bench as to when the trial will start, he told the Court that the trial will start immediately and that Rao is creating hurdles in starting the trial.
The ASG told the Court that the health of the accused has improved. He also told in reply to a query by the Bench that NIA does not have a case that Rao has misused his bail, while on bail. He also told the Court that the claim that Rao is suffering from Parkinson's disease is not correct. "Nothing serious", he told about the health condition of Rao after referring to medical records.
To the question whether the bail has been misused, Raju said, "He will lie low, these are very shrewd persons".
The Court observed that the requirement of law for custodial interrogation has been satisfied. The broad features that a person who has been in custody for 2 and a half years at the age of 82 has medical issues, the Bench observed.
Raju told the Court that the trial can be completed in one and a half years, provided they don't create hurdles. He told the Court that the age of the accused is not a factor, given the seriousness of the offence alleged. He told that his medical condition does not warrant granting medical bail.
Raju also told that under Section 43(d)(5) of the UAPA, this is not a ground for granting bail. He referred to the case of Asharam Bapu, who was not granted bail despite his advanced age and citing medical conditions. "Medical grounds are relevant as far as CrPC is concerned but the same is not available under the UAPA", Raju submitted. "There must be extraordinary medical grounds if bail is to be granted on Medical grounds", the ASG submitted.
The Court then asked why the NIA did not challenge the bail on medical grounds. "They were ill advised, but that does not make the order correct", he replied.
Raju said that according to the charge sheet, one person died due to the acts of Rao at Bhima Koregaon. Grover opposed the submission saying that there is no terrorist act as per the charge sheet.
Raju then read a letter that praises the ambush on the armed forces by Naxals. He submitted that the matter be adjourned by 6 months so that the Court can see the progress of the trial and the development of the health of Rao.
Grover says that the letter is an electronic document and cannot be proved without a certificate under the IT Act and that it forms part of the planted evidence. he said that the agency wants Rao to die in jail like Stan Swamy.
The Bench then passed the order.
The Court had on the previous hearing adjourned the matter on the request of Solicitor General Tushar Mehta and had extended the interim protection which was granted to Rao.
The 83-year-old had challenged the order passed by the Bombay High Court which had rejected his plea to grant him permanent medical bail and to shift him to Hyderabad citing ill health and high expenses in Mumbai.
The matter pertains to the speeches that were given at Elgar Parishad Conclave in Pune which, the Police allege had led to the violence near the Bhima-Koregaon War Memorial. Police had also claimed maoist links in the matter and NIA had taken over the case.
Rao was arrested after an FIR was registered in the matter in August 2018 and was initially put under house arrest. He was shifted to Taloja Jail in November 2018. The Bombay High Court had granted him bail on medical grounds in February 2021.