Updated: August 18, 2021 9:03:07 am
The Bombay High Court on Tuesday directed authorities of the Taloja Central Prison in Navi Mumbai to transfer Elgaar Parishad case accused Hany Babu back to the jail after being informed of the improvement in his health condition.
The Delhi University associate professor is currently under treatment at Breach Candy Hospital in Mumbai and is set to be discharged Wednesday.
A division bench of Justice SS Shinde and Justice NJ Jamadar passed the order on a petition by Babu’s wife Jenny Rowenna seeking bail for him on health grounds. “In view of his ailment, Babu to be taken to JJ Hospital as and when required. The Superintendent of the prison is at liberty to allow consultation at the private hospital if the need arises,” the court ordered.
On July 29, after Babu’s counsel informed the high court that he had “largely recovered” from his eye ailment after being treated for two months at Breach Candy Hospital, the bench had directed the hospital to provide his latest health report.
According to the doctors treating him, there is a “little swelling” in the corner of an eye which can be cured with antibiotics and therefore the petitioner was not pressing for further relief, Babu’s counsel said.
Advocates Yug Mohit Chaudhry and Payoshi Roy, representing Babu, said the hospital has informed that their client was ready to be discharged, but he should be taken to the hospital for regular follow-ups due to the swelling, which the court allowed.
However, representing the state prison authority, Chief Public Prosecutor Aruna Pai submitted that the state-run J J Hospital was well-equipped for the required check-ups. The court then said that in case treatment is not available at state-run hospitals, the authority should take Babu to Breach Candy Hospital. Pai responded that expenses for such visits should be borne by Babu.
To this, Justice Shinde orally remarked, “Article 21 (Right to life and personal liberty) of the Constitution applies to all equally, there are various judgments that treatment is the state’s responsibility. In case admission is required, it’s different, but consultation even in Breach Candy Hospital should be at the state’s expense. We don’t know if you have visited these (government) hospitals, they are good. Only thing is he should get timely treatment. If the systems are improved, more infrastructure can be given (in prison). We can only suggest, ultimately it is up to the state.”
The bench then disposed of the plea and directed that Babu be transferred back to Taloja prison following his discharge.
Babu (55), who was arrested by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in July last year, had tested positive for Covid-19 earlier this year and was admitted to the government-run JJ Hospital and later shifted to GT Hospital.
He was then transferred to Breach Candy Hospital as per a high court order dated May 19, which was passed after the petitioner sought immediate relief to conduct tests for mucormycosis and other ailments. The order stated that Babu’s family will bear the cost of his treatment at the private hospital. Later the court extended his stay at the private hospital as the need arose.
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