Bombay HC rejects Sudha Bharadwaj’s appeal against denial of bail

File photo of activist and lawyer Sudha Bharadwaj being taken into custody at Faraskhana police station in Pune.  

The Bombay High Court on August 28 rejected a criminal appeal filed by activist Sudha Bharadwaj against denial of medical bail after spending two years in jail.

A Division Bench of Justices R.D. Dhanuka and V.G. Bisht was hearing Ms. Bharadwaj’s appeal after the special National Investigation Agency (NIA) court rejected her medical bail. The plea was based on her co-morbidities that make her extremely vulnerable to contracting COVID-19.

The Byculla jail submitted two contradictory medical reports on her. A report dated July 21 said she had heart ischemia, a very severe condition, while a report dated August 21 completely omits any mention of the condition.

The Bench observed that the Maharashtra government will continue to provide medical aid for Ms. Bharadwaj, 58, inside the prison.

On May 29, Ms. Bharadwaj’s interim bail plea on medical grounds was rejected by the special NIA court. She sought bail on the grounds of having pre-existing medical conditions of diabetes, high blood pressure, hypertension and a history of pulmonary tuberculosis, making her extremely susceptible to contracting COVID-19 in Byculla jail. She also has extremely painful swelling in her joints and a frozen shoulder that restricted her movement.

On July 1, the NIA had opposed her bail by saying, “Ms. Bharadwaj under the garb of current situation on account of global pandemic COVID-19 is trying to take an undue benefit of the aforesaid situation in seeking bail on the grounds mentioned in her application.”

The agency also said, “The available evidence on record clearly established Sudha Bharadwaj, along with other accused, was involved in selecting and encouraging cadres for recruitment in the banned Maoist organisation to go underground in ‘struggle area’”.

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Printable version | Jun 17, 2021 5:09:20 AM |

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