The Supreme Court on Wednesday granted permanent medical bail to activist and poet P. Varavara Rao, who was arrested under the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, for his alleged role in the case related to Bhima Koregaon violence.
The Apex Court granted bail to the 82-year-old activist, while rejecting the National Investigative Agency’s opposition that age or medical condition cannot be a factor to let an UAPA accused out on bail.
Earlier during the hearing, NIA told the Apex Court that Rao, an accused in Elgar Parishad case, should not be granted bail since he “was engaged in unlawful activities against the Government of India”.
Rao, who has been in custody for over two years, had approached the top court of the country to grant him permanent medical bail.
NIA has stated his actions were allegedly furthering the agenda of banned organisation, Communist Party of India (Maoist).
The affidavit by NIA clearly mentioned that “Rao was not merely associated or supported CPI(Maoist), but was constantly fulfilling the agenda of the banned organisation (CPIM).
The NIA further said that the actions taken by Rao were against the interest of the country.
“Considering the offence committed by the accused, which is against the interest of the country and the principles of Indian Constitution, there shall be no relief when the offence is against the state and public interest,” it added.
The NIA also referred to a document of the banned organisation found during the probe, which was named ‘Strategy and tactics of Indian revolution’.
Rao had moved the Supreme Court, after the Bombay High Court refused permanent medical bail to him.
The High Court bench of S.B. Shukre and G.A. Sanap, besides rejecting Rao’s plea for bail, also dismissed his application for residing in Telangana.
The Court had, however, extended for three more months, an earlier order granting him temporary bail on medical grounds.
The plea before the Apex Court stated that Rao has already spent two-year term in jail as an undertrial, and “further incarceration would ring the death knell for him as advancing age and deteriorating health are a fatal combination”.
It was also contended that even though the High Court has called for the trial to be expedited, over 300 witnesses have to be examined, which would take at least 10 years.