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Delhi High Court orders transfer of Kashmiri separatist Altaf Ahmad Shah to AIIMS for cancer treatment

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Highlighting that the right to have adequate and suitable treatment was part of the fundamental right as enshrined in Article 21 of the Constitution, the Delhi High Court has ordered the authorities at both RML Hospital and Tihar Jail, to shift Kashmiri separatist leader Altaf Ahmad Shah, arrested in a terror funding case in 2018, to All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Delhi, for treatment of renal cancer.

The Single-Judge Bench of Justice Sudhir Kumar Jain observed on Monday that the medical record of Shah revealed that he was suffering from various ailments, which included, as per his daughter, Renal Cancer.

The High Court noted that without going into the merits of the case, considering the totality of the circumstances and in the interest of justice, the petitioner was directed to be shifted to AIIMS, Delhi for appropriate treatment under the judicial custody and direct supervision of the concerned Jail Superintendent and after following all necessary security measures.

However, family of the son-in-law of late Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani, alleged on Tuesday that despite the High Court order, Shah was yet to be shifted to the hospital.

His daughter Ruwa Shah posted an update on social media yesterday, alleging that even after 27 hours of the High Court order, his father, who was already on ventilator, was “not being moved” from RML. Since RML could not treat him for cancer, losing every moment for someone on life support was crucial, she added.

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The National Investigation Agency (NIA) had filed a charge sheet in 2017, accusing various separatist leaders in the valley of acting in connivance with militants for raising, receiving and collecting funds domestically as well as abroad through various illegal channels for ‘funding’ separatist and terrorist activities in Jammu and Kashmir.

The accused were charged under various offences of the Indian Penal Code and the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967.

the High Court on Monday further permitted either the son or daughter of Shah to meet him once in a day for one hour in the Hospital, subject to proper verification and as per the rules and regulations of AIIMS.

Representing Shah, Senior Advocate Trideep Pais apprised the High Court that the charge sheet has already been filed in the case and trial was pending before a special NIA court.

The Counsel said Shah was recently admitted to RML hospital for treatment and subsequently, his daughter came to know about him suffering from the last stage of Renal Cancer.

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Pais contended that RML Hospital did not have adequate facility to treat the said ailment, adding that Renal Cancer has already affected Shah’s various body parts.

He further said that the Separatist leader was suffering from multiple organ failure, requiring urgent treatment at any other hospital.

Representing NIA, a Special Public Prosecutor submitted that there was no medical record available, which proved that Shah was suffering from Renal Cancer. It also pointed out that doctors at RML Hospital were yet to recommend Shah’s transfer to any other hospital.

Pais then submitted an affidavit given by Shah’s daughter Ruwa, which stated that he was suffering from renal cancer, as per the information given by doctors on duty at RML Hospital.

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He also cited the Supreme Court’s judgement in Gautam Navlakha vs National Investigation Agency.

The court, while disposing of the plea, directed Shah that necessary expenses likely to be incurred in Shah’s shifting from RML Hospital to AIIMS, shall be borne by him.

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