Elgar Parishad case: HC directs state to provide medical reports of accused to their families
The Bombay high court (HC) has directed the Maharashtra government to provide copies of the medical reports of Professor Sudha Bharadwaj, Dr. Anand Teltumbde and Vernon Gonsalves, who are lodged in Mumbai’s Byculla Women’s Jail and Navi Mumbai’s Taloja Jail, respectively, to their families, lawyers and the National Investigation Agency (NIA) before the next hearing of the case on Friday (August 28).
All three are accused in the Elgar Parishad/Bhima Koregaon case.
The court has held that the inmates and their families have the right to know the status of their health condition and, as a result, the reports must be shared with them at the earliest.
A two-member HC division bench, comprising Justices RD Dhanuka and VG Bisht, while hearing the application of Professor Bharadwaj, who had moved HC against the rejection of her bail application by a special NIA court.
Professor Bharadwaj had applied for bail on grounds of her health condition and the raging coronavirus disease (Covid-19) outbreak, which has afflicted several inmates and staff in the state’s prisons and correctional homes.
Advocate Ragini Ahuja informed HC that Bharadwaj had comorbidities and due to overcrowding in the Byculla Women’s Jail she was susceptible to contract SARS-CoV-2, which causes the disease.
Maharashtra government authorities submitted before the HC bench a medical report of Professor Bharadwaj dated August 21.
The court perused the report, which stated that her health condition was stable and she would be entitled to other medical facilities, if she required them.
However, the bench observed that Professor Bharadwaj’s family members had a right to know about her wellness and the report must be shared with them at the earliest.
Public prosecutor Deepak Thakare, who represented the Maharashtra government, informed the court that the medical report would be shared with her family members by Tuesday evening.
There was a separate hearing of the application of Gonsalves and Dr. Teltumbde, who had sought to undergo Covid-19 tests. The court was told by the state authorities that Gonsalves’s medical report was submitted earlier. While the corrected report of Dr Teltumbde was ready and would be submitted before the court by Friday.
Advocate Mihir Desai, who appeared for Gonsalves and Dr. Teltumbde, pointed out that the medical report of Gonsalves was not shared with his legal counsel.
Desai sought directions to the state in a bid to keep his clients’ legal counsel abreast with their latest health conditions.
Earlier, Gonsalves and Dr. Dr. Teltumbde had sought to undergo Covid-19 tests after their fellow accused Vara Vara Rao (81) was found to have contracted the viral infection in July.
The next hearing of the case will be on Friday.