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Have great respect for Stan Swamy’s work, says Bombay HC judge

Hearing the bail application of Elgar Parishad accused Father Stan Swamy after his death, the Bombay high court (HC) said it had great respect for the work of the tribal rights activist
By KAY Dodhiya, Mumbai
PUBLISHED ON JUL 19, 2021 11:43 PM IST

Hearing the bail application of Elgar Parishad accused Father Stan Swamy after his death, the Bombay high court (HC) said it had great respect for the work of the tribal rights activist. HC judge SS Shinde observed that he was a wonderful person, and hence though they had very little time, he made it a point to attend the online funeral service.

“Swamy’s service was gracious and while the legal matter against Swamy was a different issue, it was not expecting the death of the priest before it passed judgment on the bail application,” he said.

The HC clarified that it had dealt with medical bail applications of Elgar Parishad accused including Swamy, Varavara Rao and Hany Babu on humane consideration by acceding to their request to be transferred to private hospitals of their choices despite vehement opposition from the National Investigation Agency (NIA) and Maharashtra prison authorities.

The division bench of justice SS Shinde and justice NJ Jamadar, while hearing the application of Swamy, was informed by senior counsel Mihir Desai that he was seeking permission for Fr Frazer Mascarenhas to participate in the magisterial inquiry into the cause of Swamy’s death. Desai submitted that as the process for such inquiries mandated the participation of family members and as Fr Mascarenhas was permitted by the HC to meet Swamy while he was at Holy Family Hospital from May 28 till his death on July 5, he should be allowed to participate in the inquiry as well.

However, NIA through advocate Sandesh Patil opposed continuation of the medical bail plea and said that issues pertaining to the inquiry could not be taken up in the same application, following which the court said it would consider the request of Swamy’s counsel on Friday (July 23).

While referring to the criticism hurled at the HC and NIA for the cause of Swamy’s death, the bench said, “We ensured we remained fair while passing orders on Swamy’s medical bail application as well as the applications filed by the other co-accused in the Elgar Parishad case like P Varavara Rao and Hany Babu by permitting them to be shifted to the hospital of their choice, though there was vehement opposition.”

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