In the Bombay High Court, Senior Advocate Indira Jaising described Varavara Rao’s medical report by doctors after examining the 81 year old through video call a “complete eyewash”.
Poet-activist Varavara Rao, has been in jail for 2 years after being arrested under the draconian UAPA law in relation to the Bhima Koregaon case. Last week, his bail was rejected by the Bombay High Court despite his ill health. His family, represented by Advocate Indira Jaising, had submitted to the court that he is in no condition to “flee justice” as he was bedridden and in diapers:
He is bedridden. He is on diapers. He can’t control urination. He is with a urine bag. His catheter has not been removed. Is this man going to run away from justice
However, the Court did not grant bail, and instead asked for doctors to conduct a medical examination via video call. The medical report was to ascertain if Varavara Rao should be shifted from Talojia jail to hospital.
Today, Justice Jaising pointed towards serious issues in the report to a bench in the Bombay High Court, presided by Justices S S Shinde and Madhav Jamda. The bench was considering two cases:
1. A bail application filed by Varavara Rao on medical grounds and
2. A writ petition filed by Hemalata, his wife, stating that Varavara Rao’s incarceration was in violation of the right to life.
Issues with the Medical Report
Firstly, despite the fact that Varavara Rao had been going through neurological problems and a urinary infection, neither a neurologist nor a urologist met with him. The report also did not cover his dementia though he suffers from it. It seems that the medical examination conducted by doctors of Nanavati Hospital, as a whole, only lasted a mere 15 minutes as well. She also pointed out that Talojia jail hospital itself wasn’t equipped to handle the medically recommended tests.
Jaising had also only received a copy of the report today, on November 17th, and there was a non compliance with the High Court’s order on the 12th as it was not complete; the report was submitted without the test results. Jaising described this as a “delaying tactic”:
The report has not been brought on record till November 17. This is a delaying tactic. The report is a complete eyewash
Jaising highlighted the urgency of the matter considering Varavara Rao’s health. While going through some technical difficulties, she stated that she was ready to come to court physically if need be.
Earlier, on October 29th, the Supreme Court had issued an order to the Bombay High Court to consider his bail application at the earliest in light of the same. The High Court had not listed his bail application since September 17th.
For their part, the Bombay High Court directed the Maharashtra Government to give Varavara Rao’s medical report to his wife.
In July, Rao’s lawyer Sandeep Pasbola had informed the court that Varavara Rao was practically on his death bed:
Besides Covid-19, he suffers from several ailments, he is hallucinating and is delirious,