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Elgaar Parishad case: Would prefer to die in jail instead of going to hospital, accused Stan Swamy tells HC

Tribal rights activist Stan Swamy – arrested in the Elgaar Parishad case – has refused to get shifted to any government hospital to undergo treatment for his frail health
By KAY Dodhiya, Mumbai
PUBLISHED ON MAY 22, 2021 01:30 AM IST

Tribal rights activist Stan Swamy – arrested in the Elgaar Parishad case – has refused to get shifted to any government hospital to undergo treatment for his frail health. The Jesuit priest said that he would prefer to die at Taloja jail, where he is currently lodged, instead of getting shifted to Sir JJ Hospital.

Swamy, while speaking to the Bombay high court (HC) bench of justice SJ Kathawalla and justice SP Tavade through video-conferencing from Taloja jail said that when he was arrested eight months ago, he could walk, bathe and eat by himself. However, owing to the “bad conditions” at the jail, his health slowly deteriorated, and hence, he would prefer to be sent to Ranchi rather than being shifted to some hospital.

In an earlier hearing, the bench while hearing Swamy’s bail application of on medical grounds was informed that as the 84-year-old was ailing from several health problems, and should be granted interim bail. His lawyers had approached HC after the special National Investigation Agency (NIA) court had rejected Swamy’s bail application in March.

After hearing the application on May 19, the bench had directed Taloja jail authorities to take Swamy to Sir JJ Hospital and asked its dean to constitute a committee of expert doctors to examine the octogenarian and submit its report on Friday. The court had also sought Swamy’s presence through video-conferencing.

On Friday, the court perused Sir JJ Hospital’s report which stated that Swamy’s parameters were normal, but he had severe hearing and lower back problems and general weakness.

When the bench asked Swamy about his health condition, he said, “I was brought healthy to Taloja jail eight months back but over that period all my body functions have deteriorated. Though I have been getting medicines it has not helped.”

On the judges’ suggestion to shift him to Sir JJ Hospital for improving his health condition, Swamy said, “The economic condition of prisoners is not good and I would prefer to die here rather than be shifted to Sir JJ Hospital. I have seen JJ hospital and would prefer to remain in Taloja jail.”

When the bench suggested that Swamy be shifted to some other hospital, also he again declined. His counsel, senior advocate Mihir Desai, requested the court to grant him some time to convince the Jesuit priest, which the court allowed and posted the hearing of the application on June 7. The bench permitted Desai to approach the court prior to that if Swamy agreed to get shifted to any other hospital, like Holy Family hospital.

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