In the Elgaar Parishad case, the Bombay High Court on Monday granted interim bail of six months on medical grounds to the ailing poet Varavara Rao. Rao (82 years), accused in the Elgar Parishad-Maoist relationship case, is currently undergoing treatment at Nanavati Hospital in Mumbai. Rao is admitted by the Maharashtra government here after court intervention. The NIA is investigating the Elgar Council case. Rao has been in judicial custody since August 28, 2018 and is awaiting trial.
A bench of Justices SS Shinde and Manish Pitale on Monday ordered that Rao be discharged from the hospital, which would depend on his health status. The bench said that he should be released on bail soon after his discharge from the hospital. The High Court said that if he does not grant bail on medical grounds to Rao, it would be like his duty to protect the principle of human rights and deviate from the fundamental right to life and health of citizens.
Apart from granting bail, the bench has also imposed stricter conditions including directing Varavara Rao to remain within the jurisdiction of Mumbai’s NIA court during the bail period. The court said that Rao will have to submit his passport to the NIA court and he will not try to establish any contact with the co-accused in the case. The court said that Rao will have to pay two bonds of the same amount along with depositing a personal bond of Rs 50,000.
Let me tell you that on February 1, the debate on the plea of granting bail to Varavara Rao on medical grounds was completed and the court reserved the decision. This writ petition was filed by his wife Hemlata, who claimed in his petition that the fundamental rights of Varavara Rao were being violated by not giving proper medical facilities and being kept in captivity. Significantly, this case is related to the allegedly provocative speech at the Elgar Parishad program held in Pune on 31 December 2017. Police claim that the speech led to violence in Koregaon-Bhima the next day. The police claim that the people organizing the event have links with the Maoists.