‘Speedy trial part of fundamental rights’: HC reserves verdict on Rao’s bail plea

The Bombay High Court on Monday reserved its verdict on a plea filed by octagenerain Telugu poet and Elgaar Parishad case accused Varavara Rao’s wife Pendyala Hemalatha, seeking his release from Taloja Central Jail in Navi Mumbai on medical grounds.

A division bench of Justice S S Shinde and Justice Manish Pitale concluded hearings on the plea, along with Rao’s appeal against the special National Investigation Agency (NIA) court that had refused him interim bail on medical grounds.

Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh, appearing for the NIA, reiterated that Rao would be provided with proper medical care in Taloja jail’s hospital or state-run J J hospital after being discharged from Nanavati hospital in Mumbai and that he should not be released as he is accused of committing “serious offences” under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

Referring to the status of trial in the Elgaar Parishad case, Justice Shinde said, “Charges have not been yet framed. As many as 200 witnesses are yet to be examined. How long will it take? Speedy trial is considered a part of fundamental rights. The bail plea is only on medical grounds. He (Rao) was given a catheter, etc, in the hospital due to intervention by the human rights commission.”

On November 19, 2020, through an interim order, the HC had allowed Rao to seek treatment at private-run Nanavati hospital. The order has now been extended till the judgment is pronounced.