Bhima Koregaon: Bombay High Court directs Nanavati Hospital to submit Varavara Rao's health report in three days

After assessing Varavara Rao's health report, the Bombay High Court will decide whether or not to release the report to his family.
Varavara Rao
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The Bombay High Court on Tuesday directed Nanavati Hospital, where Telugu writer-poet Varavara Rao is admitted, to produce a report on the status of his health in three days.

Rao is one of several accused in the Bhima Koregaon case.

The Division Bench of Justices RD Dhanuka and VG Bisht passed the order today.

The High Court will decide on the question of whether or not the health report can be shared with Rao's family. The Hospital has also been asked by the Court to furnish details on the line of treatment being administered to Rao, who tested positive for COVID-19 earlier this month. The Court said,

"Nanavati Super Specialty Hospital is accordingly directed to submit a report showing the present status of health of the petitioner and the nature of the treatment being given to the petitioner to this Court within three days from the date of communication of this order."

The Court was hearing two separate pleas, one of which had sought for immediate medical treatment to be given to Rao, whose medical condition was visibly worsening. The second plea challenged the order of the National Investigation Agency (NIA) Court that rejected his interim bail plea.

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The Court was also told by Rao's family that he was almost on his "death bed". Thus, they had sought permission to visit him in the hospital from a reasonable distance. The Court had sought NIA's response to this request made by Rao's family on July 20.

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Earlier, in its affidavit filed before the High Court, the NIA had opposed Rao's interim bail plea saying that the poet was taking "undue benefit" of his old age and the pandemic to seek bail. The agency claimed that he was not entitled to bail owing to the gravity of offences alleged against him.

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Bhima Koregaon: NIA opposes Varavara Rao's bail plea, says he is taking "undue benefit" of COVID-19 pandemic and old age

Today, the Court was told by Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh, representing the NIA, that Rao was being given all the medical assistance required in line with the guidelines of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).

As regards permission for Rao's family to visit him, Singh said that the agency was not opposed to the same, subject to permission from the Hospital, given that the ICMR has specific guidelines in relation to visitation permission for COVID-19 patients.

Accepting the NIA's submission, the Court allowed Rao's family to visit him subject to the Hospital's conditions. The Court said,

"In view of the statement made by the learned Additional Solicitor General, family members of the petitioner are permitted to visit the petitioner who is admitted in Nanavati Super Specialty Hospital however, subject to hospital protocol and in accordance with the Government norms in respect of the COVID patient."

On the question of sharing of medical and health updates of Rao, NIA submitted that the information is not liable to be revealed owing to the ICMR guidelines to this effect. However, he stated that the agency was not opposed to sharing this information with Rao's family, if the same is done by the state government.

The state government, through Public Prosecutor Deepak Thakare, submitted before the Court that it is also not opposed to sharing Rao's medical updates with his family, should a direction to this effect from the Court bind the Hospital to do so.

The Court thus directed Nanavati Hospital to release Rao's report in three days. After examining this report, the Court will consider the issue of sharing it with Rao's family. In this regard, the order of the Court says,

"Request of the petitioner to share such report that would be submitted by the Nanavati Super Specialty Hospital would be considered by this Court after such report is received and perused by this Court."

The Court will hear the matter next on August 7. The bail plea filed by Rao will be considered by the Court after perusing his medical records.

The same Bench also heard a plea filed by two of Rao's co-accused, Vernon Gonsalves and Anand Teltumbde seeking to be tested for COVID-19. While Gonsalves has already undergone the test and found to be negative for the novel Coronavirus, the State would respond on Teltumbde's plea by July 31, the Court was told.

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Bhima Koregaon: Vernon Gonsalves, Anand Teltumbde move Bombay HC for bail on the humanitarian grounds citing risk of contracting COVID-19

Read Order in cases concerning Varavara Rao:

Varavara Rao vs NIA - 28.07.2020.pdf

Read Order on plea filed by Vernon Gonsalves and Anand Teltumbde:

Vernon Gonsalves and Anr. vs NIA.pdf

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