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With a warning, HC grants temporary bail to prisoner to seek private opinion on cancer treatment

The court directed the petitioner to inform the investigating authorities about the details of the expert he wishes to consult, stating that the same should be from Mumbai.

Arthur road prison, Arthur road centrail jail, 26/11 attacks, Ajmal Kasab, jail expansion, land acquisition, Mumbai news, Mumbai city news, Mumbai, Maharashtra, Maharashtra government, India news, Indian Express News Service, Express News Service, Express News, Indian Express India NewsA division bench of Justice Prasanna B Varale and Justice Shriram M Modak was hearing a plea by an undertrial prisoner of Arthur Road jail, filed through his brother, on March 16. (File)

The Bombay High Court has granted release on a seven-day temporary bail, from March 21 to 27, to an undertrial prisoner booked under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substance (NDPS) Act, to approach a private medical expert of his choice and seek a second opinion for his treatment of stage IV oral cancer for “his and his family members’ satisfaction”.

The court directed the petitioner to inform the investigating authorities about the details of the expert he wishes to consult, stating that the same should be from Mumbai.

The HC, however, warned the petitioner that if it later finds out that the present treatment given to the accused through prison authorities was proper and that the medical experts outside are not observing any departure in treatment already being provided to him, “serious consequences” may follow from the court.

A division bench of Justice Prasanna B Varale and Justice Shriram M Modak was hearing a plea by an undertrial prisoner of Arthur Road jail, filed through his brother, on March 16.

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The petitioner had sought leave to take a second opinion from a private doctor to know his “actual health status” and whether he would require any surgical intervention or not.

The prison authorities were asked to release the petitioner on leave, with an escort accompanying him to the medical expert from where he may be dropped at his residence after consultation.

Advocate Taraq Sayed for the prisoner submitted that there was no grievance pertaining to the treatment being provided to the petitioner by jail authorities, but as his client is at stage IV of oral cancer, he apprehended that in case of extreme emergency including any surgery, if advised, the jail authority may not be in a position to provide necessary care.

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Sayed also submitted that though jail authorities are providing regular meals to the petitioner, the diet provided in prison may not be appropriate to face the serious ailment.

Sayed also submitted that the petitioner is desirous of having an opinion from a private doctor/expert to know the actual health status of the petitioner and stated that the said prayer is only on humanitarian grounds, considering the severity of the ailment.

He also sought the petitioner’s release for two months.

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The court referred to the medical report about treatment and diet being provided to the petitioner-prisoner, along with the line of treatment under expert doctors at Tata Memorial Hospital and noted that by “no stretch of imagination” it can be said the court can decide as an appellate authority over the medical authority to assess a medical report.

The bench observed: “It is also not in dispute that this Court does not possess any expertise or special knowledge in the Medical field….Though the report satisfies this Court, only on the submission of the counsel that the Petitioner is approaching on humanitarian ground to have an opportunity of second opinion from a private Medical Expert and his choice for his satisfaction and for satisfaction of his family members, we permit the Petitioner to undertake the said exercise with certain conditions.”

The bench further said, “We further make it clear that on perusal of the report if we find that the treatment being provided to the Petitioner (in jail) is proper treatment and medical expert (outside) is not observing any departure from the treatment being provided to the Petitioner, then this aspect would be considered by this Court for serious consequence to follow.”

First published on: 20-03-2022 at 09:38:50 pm
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