81-year-old Varavara Rao has been in prison for more than two years without a trial.

Varavara Rao
news Court Thursday, November 12, 2020 - 10:54

Wife of jailed poet Varavara Rao, P Hemalatha has filed a plea at the Bombay High Court on Thursday seeking Rao’s release from Taloja jail. Rao has been imprisoned without a trial for more than two years in the Bhima Koregaon case and also charged for the alleged plot to assassinate Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Bar & Bench reported that the plea would be heard by Justices AK Menon and SP Tavade at 3 pm. Senior advocate Indira Jaising will represent Rao in the case.  

Nearly three weeks ago, Hemalatha had approached the Supreme Court, seeking the release of her husband from prison under medical grounds. Owing to his poor health, Rao’s family wanted him to be shifted to home.

In her petition, Hemalatha said that the continued custody of Rao amounted to cruelty and inhuman treatment, violating Article 21 of the Constitution (life or personal liberty) and also violative of his right to dignity in custody. 

After hearing the writ petition, the apex court refused bail and directed the Bombay High Court to list the bail application at the earliest.

Rao has been in prison since August 2018 under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) for his alleged links with Maoists.

Expressing concerns over the health condition of Rao, Indira Jaising had argued earlier in the SC that, "Prisoners have a right to health in custody and this has been held to be so by this Court. Right to life and dignity is being violated. The right to health of prisoners needs to be protected." 

Rao, who is 81 years old, had earlier tested positive for coronavirus. According to his family, he is suffering from delirium and other ailments. He was availing treatment at Nanavati Hospital in July. Later in August, he was discharged from the hospital and sent back to the prison.       

 
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