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Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Shahabuddin shared cell with Covid positive inmate, his lawyers had told court his life at risk  

The lawyers told the court that Shahabuddin was ledged with the fellow inmate despite the latter testing positive for Covid in early April.

Written by Anand Mohan J | New Delhi |
May 1, 2021 1:32:54 pm
Mohammad Shahabuddin. (Express Photo/File)

Former Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) MP Mohammad Shahabuddin, who passed away on Saturday morning battling Covid-19, was lodged in the high-risk ward in Tihar Jail where he was sharing his cell with an inmate who had tested positive for Covid.

On April 28, Shahabuddin’s lawyers, senior advocates Salman Khurshid and Randhir Kumar had argued his writ petition before Justice Pratibha M Singh in the Delhi High Court, asking that directions to protect his life, monitor his health, and allow a mobile phone be issued so that he may be in contact with his family members.

The lawyers told the court that Shahabuddin was lodged with the fellow inmate despite the latter testing positive for Covid in early April. “… Inspite of his being Covid positive, the applicant was kept in the same cell by the jail authorities knowing about the fatality rate of this disease, no separate arrangement was made by the jail authorities for the petitioner and inspite of repeated requests, he was impelled to share the same cell with the Covid-19 patient and this way, the jail authorities have endangered the life of the petitioner,” the lawyers said.

Shahabuddin tested positive for the virus on April 19 and was shifted to DDU Hospital for treatment on April 20.

The High Court, in its order on April 28, had ordered that Shahabuddin be “supervised regularly by a doctor so that there is no threat to his life”.”

He was also allowed to communicate with any member of his family to inform them of his medical condition, and in addition, if required, the court said that a senior doctor could also do a tele-consultation with him.

The lawyers of the petitioner had also told the court that “medicines required for the treatment of Covid-19 are not available in the market or in the hospital and due to the other co-morbid diseases such as high sugar and blood pressure, the life of the petitioner is in danger”.

His lawyers also told the court that Shahabuddin was a “victim of political rivalry” and expressed the apprehension that his life “might be put deliberately in danger by the authorities” and that “manipulation could not be ruled out”.

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