Thursday, February 2, 2023

Bhima-Koregaon case: SC to hear Varavara Rao bail plea on July 19, extends interim protection

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The Supreme Court on Tuesday adjourned hearing on the permanent medical bail application of Bhima-Koregaon violence accused Varavara Rao to July 19.

A Bench comprising Justice U.U. Lalit, Justice S. Ravindra Bhat and Justice Sudhanshu Dhulia fixed July 19 as the next date of hearing in the case of poet Varavara Rao. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta had sought the adjournment and said the interim protection from surrender granted by the Bombay High Court can be extended.

Few days back, the Vacation Bench of Justice Surya Kant and Justice J.B. Pardiwala had heard a request made by senior advocate Anand Grover on behalf of the former professor and poet, asking for an urgent hearing in the case.

Advocate Grover had pointed out that Rao’s interim bail, granted by the Bombay High Court in April, would come to an end on July 13.

“He is 83-years-old. There is some urgency. Please, hear this immediately on reopening of the court,” said the Counsel.

The Bombay High Court had rejected the plea of Rao for permanent medical bail and permission for shifting to Hyderabad in Telangana, citing ill health and high expenses in Mumbai on April 13.

The court had, however, extended the interim bail, earlier granted to Rao in February, by another three months.

In his application, Rao had submitted that his condition was getting worse due to Parkinson’s disease. The plea said that he had already spent over two-and-a-half years in custody as an undertrial, and he deserved to be released on permanent medical bail.

Rao had requested that at this stage, if he lives with his family in Hyderabad, he would have access to good and free medical facilities (the treatment is free for former government employees).

Although his request was rejected by the court for permanent medical bail, the High Court gave directions to the Taloja Central prison to improve the facilities.

Varavara Rao is among the activists, lawyers, poets and scholars, who were arrested by NIA in connection with the Elgar Parishad case.

As per the case registered by police, some people had made provocative speeches during the Elgar Parishad conclave in Pune on December 31, 2017, which triggered violence on January 1, 2018 near the Koregaon-Bhima war memorial located on the outskirts of the western Maharashtra city.

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