Sudha Bhardwaj and Bombay HC
Sudha Bhardwaj and Bombay HC
Litigation News

Sudha Bharadwaj is taken care of in so far as her health is concerned: Bombay HC while rejecting bail plea [Read Order]

The activist, lodged in the Byculla Jail, had moved the Court seeking bail on medical grounds in view of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Lydia Suzanne Thomas

On Friday, the Bombay High Court dismissed a bail appeal moved on behalf of arrested activist and lawyer Sudha Bharadwaj seeking bail citing her susceptibility to COVID-19 in view of existing co-morbidities (Sudha Bharadwaj v. NIA).

Rejecting her bail plea, a Bench of Justices RD Dhanuka and VG Bisht stated:

"In our view, in view of the facilities being made available in the Mumbai District Women Prison, Byculla and in view of the statement made by learned PP and learned ASG for NIA recorded aforesaid, the Appellant is taken care of in so far as her health conditions is concerned."
Bombay High Court

The plea in the Bombay High Court was an appeal challenging the dismissal of bail application moved before a National Investigation Agency (NIA) Special Court. Bharadwaj was seeking bail on medical grounds and the existence of co-morbidities that made her more vulnerable to a COVID-19 infection in the Byculla women's prison, where she is lodged.

The Bench of the Bombay High Court opined that the Judge of NIA Court had recorded "detailed reasons" when rejecting the lawyer's bail application, after considering her medical reports.

During hearings, three medical reports were submitted by the Byculla Prison Medical Officer in Court.

Findings of the Medical Report

  • Report dated July 21 - diabetes (RBS 194), moderate depression, osteoarthritis, Ischemic disease and a skin fungal infection.

  • Report dated August 3 - diabetes (RBS 153), moderate depression, osteoarthritis, Ischemic disease and a skin fungal infection.

  • Report dated August 21 - body ache, diabetes, moderate depression.

The prison authorities apprised the Court of her health parameters being satisfactory in the most recent medical examination conducted. It was also submitted that inmates with comorbidities were being given medicines at the government's cost. Further, inmates were being given extra care amid the pandemic, the Court was told, with immunity boosters, use of infrared digital thermometer, use of sanitizers, use of masks and various other medical facilities made available in prison.

The Public Prosecutor informed the Court that she would be allowed further treatment, medication and hospitalization if she required it.

Bharadwaj's counsel, on the other hand, relied upon the medical report tabled in Court on July 21 to pray for her enlargement on bail.

Accepting the findings of the latest Medical Report, the Court found that Bharadwaj had not made a case for bail. It noted that her health status was satisfactory and that the prison was providing adequate medical facilities to the inmates.

The Court, on these terms, rejected the activist's appeal for bail.

Advocates Ragini Ahuja and Yug Mohit Choudhary represented Bharadwaj, while ASG Anil Singh, Advocates SD Patil and DP Singh appeared for the NIA. Public Prosecutor Deepak Thakare and Assistant Public Prosecutor SR Shinde appeared for the State of Maharashtra.

Read the Order:

Sudha Bharadwaj v. NIA - Order dated August 28, 2020.pdf
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