The Bambay High Court rejected lawyer-Activist sudha Bharadwaj plea of interim bail on medical grounds. She has been accused in the Elgar Parishad-Bhima Koregaon case which was investigated by the NIA- amid the Coronavirus Pandemic, stating that the government of Maharashtra would continue to provide her medical aid in prison.
Sudha Bharadwaj, 58, has been lodged in Mumbai’s Byculla Women’s Jail since 2018. She had filed an appeal in the High Court after the special NIA Court’s rejected her bail plea saying that she suffered from Co-morbidities, such as diabetes and hypertension. Which put her at high risk of contracting Coronavirus while at the prison where an inmate had tested positive for COVID-19.
Additional Solicitor General and NIA counsel, Anil Singh, argued against giving bail to Ms Bharadwaj saying that if her condition required hospital care, the state would provide for it.
He gave the example of 81 -year-old coaccused, Varavara Rao, who was admitted to a state-run facility and then a shifted to the private hospital-on intervention of the National Human Right’s Commission- for treatment of COVID-19 and other ailments in July.
On 27 August, Mr Rao was discharged from hospital on recovering fromCOVID-19 and sent back to jail amid allegations by his family that they were kept in the dark about his death condition.
Mr Rao’s bail application is also being heard by the Bombay High Court, where the NIA has said his age, health condition and the pandemic were being used as a “ruse” for undue advantage.
Hearing Ms Bharadwaj’s plea, the court noted the submissions amde by the NIA and the Maharashtra government that prison authorities were taking all the precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19, and she was given the necessary medical care.
“In our view, no case is made out for grant of bail,” the HC siad.