Varavara Rao.(HT file)
Varavara Rao.(HT file)

Bhima Koregaon case: HC asks Maharashtra government to provide Varavara Rao’s medical report to his wife

The directions were issued after senior counsel Indira Jaising informed the court that the report provided to them on Tuesday afternoon was incomplete and did not have any details of the tests done on Rao
Hindustan Times, Mumbai | By K A Y Dodhiya
UPDATED ON NOV 17, 2020 04:51 PM IST

The Bombay high court has directed Maharashtra to provide details of the examination conducted by the doctors of Nanavati Hospital through video consultation on 81-year-old Telugu poet P Varavara Rao to his wife. The latter has petitioned the court to shift the Bhima Koregaon accused from Taloja jail to Nanavati Hospital.

The directions were issued after senior counsel Indira Jaising informed the court that the report provided to them on Tuesday afternoon was incomplete and did not have any details of the tests done on Rao. Jaising added that the one page report provided by the state through WhatsApp had no information regarding dementia and the urinary tract infection which Rao is suffering from.

A division bench of justices S S Shinde and Madhav Jamdar, while hearing the plea filed by Rao’s wife P Hemlatha, was informed by Jaising that the state had failed to comply with the court orders passed last week. The court had directed the doctors of Nanavati Hospital, who had previously treated Rao in July while he was admitted there, to conduct a check-up of Rao through video consultation and submit a report on his condition to the court as well as the petitioner and the NIA.

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Jaising submitted that though the tests to be done had to be read in conjunction with the July report, the current report had no mention about Rao’s co-morbidities. She added that the latest report also lacked Rao’s neurology and urology report.

Jaising submitted that the state was resorting to delaying tactics and the report submitted on Tuesday was an eyewash. She added that Rao’s condition was critical and he needed to be shifted to the hospital where the doctors could physically assess his condition and conduct all the requisite tests in one go.

Saying that Rao’s wife had come to know of his deteriorating health, her petition had sought shifting him to Nanavati Hospital. She had also sought constitution of a medical board to independently examine Rao’s condition. Hemlatha also prayed for the release of Rao on grounds of failing health.

The court has directed the state to provide a detailed report to it as well as the petitioner and posted hearing for 11am on Wednesday.

Rao was first taken to JJ Hospital on May 28 after he fell unconscious, but was discharged on June 1. The family had alleged that he was discharged in a hurried manner to obstruct his bail plea. The family had then issued a statement, saying, “He was not normal at the time of discharge...later on June 2 it was proved that all this – admission in hospital, getting a normal report, getting him discharged – was part of conspiracy by the police. June 2 was the date of hearing on his bail application on health grounds in the NIA special sessions court and police argued against his bail showing this hospital “normal” report. The judge accepted that and refused bail on June 26.” Rao continued to show signs of delirium and after voices were raised from various quarters Rao was admitted to JJ Hospital again on July 13. Later he was shifted to St George’s Hospital after he tested positive for Covid-19.

The National Human Rights Commission also intervened and issued notices to the Maharashtra government, asking it to ensure Rao is taken care of and adequate medical facilities are arranged. It had also asked for a report on his health.

The commission had observed that the right to life and medical care is one of the basic human rights and the state is duty bound to provide the same to a prisoner as well. Maharashtra state was directed to constitute a medical board to examine Rao’s health, provide him the best possible treatment and bear the cost for the same. Rao was then moved to Nanavati Hospital for treatment. He was shifted back to Taloja jail on August 28.

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