Varavara Rao seeks extension of medical bail; Bombay HC to hear plea on Sep 6

THE Bombay High Court will hear on September 6 a plea filed by 82-year-old Varavara Rao, an accused in the Bhima Koregaon case, seeking to extend his interim medical bail which comes to end on the same day. He is also seeking a relaxation of the bail condition requiring him to stay in Mumbai.

A division bench of Justices SS Shinde and NJ Jamadar could not hear the extension application today due to the paucity of time.

Senior Advocate Anand Grover submitted before the bench that since Rao’s bail was expiring on September 5, the NIA should not take any precipitate action till the matter is heard by the court. To this, Additional Solicitor General(ASG) Anil Singh assured the court orally that NIA would not take any coercive action till the next date of hearing.

In his plea, Rao has submitted that he was suffering from recurring eye problems, frequent pain in the abdominal region, and cluster headaches. He had been visiting Nanavati hospital often despite his discharge from there on March 6 this year after the High Court granted him six months of medical bail.

Besides, Rao is also seeking a relaxation of the condition imposed by the high court restricting him from leaving the jurisdiction of the NIA Court, Mumbai and that he should reside in Mumbai. He contended that he was a pensioner earning Rs. 50,000/- per month and was unable to bear the huge financial burden, which he and his wife were incurring due to their stay in Mumbai.

The ailing poet and his wife have been living in a rented apartment in Mumbai since March 6. He is spending at least Rs. 95,000/- per month that also includes medical expenses.

In February this year, a division bench of Justice SS Shinde and Manish Pitale while granting interim bail to Rao said it would have abdicated its duty in protecting his fundamental rights if it had denied bail him. It added that the condition of old age, sickness, infirmity and multiple health ailments suffered by Dr. Rao indicated that his continued custody would be incompatible with his health conditions and that sending him back to Taloja Central Prison would amount to endangering his life, thereby violating his fundamental right under Article 21 of the Constitution of India.