Bhima Koregaon case: Varavara Rao granted medical bail for 6 months

On completion of the six-month period, he has to report back to Taloja Prison.

February 22, 2021 11:45 am | Updated 07:04 pm IST - Mumbai

Poet Varavara Rao. File

Poet Varavara Rao. File

The Bombay High Court on Monday granted medical bail to Varavara Rao , 82, in the Bhima Koregaon violence case and said, “This is a genuine and fit case to grant relief; or else we will be abdicating our constitutional duty and function as a protector of human rights and right to health covered under right to life guaranteed by the Constitution of India.”

A division bench of justices SS Shinde and Manish Pitale said Mr. Rao is directed to be discharged from the private hospital where he is admitted and be released on bail for six months on furnishing a bond of ₹50,000.

The bench noted, “The prisoners of advanced age like the undertrial, who suffer from various health ailments induced by old age when put beyond bars, certainly face the danger of their health conditions worsening and accelerating their journey towards the end of their life. This is an aspect which cannot be ignored while considering the prayer for grant of an order of release from custody, despite rejection of bail application on merits.

“The onset of old age and concomitant debilitating effect on the mental and physical conditions is an aspect which assumes great significance in the context of keeping such old, aged persons behind bars. Even if such old, aged prisoners with various health conditions are accused of serious offences, the question is whether they can be forced to live a subhuman existence behind bars, only because they stand accused of serious offences?”

The 92-page judgment said: “The undertrial [Mr. Rao] herein can be granted bail purely on the grounds of sickness, advanced age, infirmity and health conditions, provided it is found that the continued incarceration of the undertrial would be incompatible with his health condition and that it would amount to endangering his life.

“There can be no doubt about the fact that a person in the health status of the undertrial would face acceleration and intensification of ailments if he continues to remain in custody. The condition of old age, sickness, infirmity and multiple health ailments suffered by the undertrial indicate that his continued custody would be incompatible with his health conditions and that sending him back to Taloja Central Prison would amount to endangering his life, thereby violating his fundamental right under Article 21 (no person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty) of the Constitution of India.”


The court held, “We are of the opinion that adopting a humanitarian approach in the peculiar facts and circumstances of the case is warranted. In special circumstances, a Constitutional Court can certainly exercise its jurisdiction under Article 226 (power of High Courts to issue certain writs) of the Constitution in favour of an accused in custody, even when regular bail application has been rejected on merits under the provisions of special statutes like Unlawful Activities Prevention Act.”

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