The Bombay High Court on Friday directed the state prison authorities and the National Investigation Agency (NIA) to provide it information about the condition of inmates and the social distancing measures being followed at the Byculla women’s jail in Mumbai, where activist and lawyer Sudha Bharadwaj, arrested in connection with the Elgaar Parishad case, is lodged.
A division bench of Justice S S Shinde and Justice Madhav Jamdar was hearing an interim bail plea filed by 58-year-old Bharadwaj on medical grounds through advocate Yug Chaudhry. She has stated that she suffers from two severe comorbidities – diabetes and high blood pressure – and is more prone to contracting an infection.
Bharadwaj had last month moved HC against an order of the Special NIA Court in Mumbai, which on May 29 had rejected her interim bail plea. While opposing the bail plea, the NIA had told the court that Bharadwaj is “taking undue benefit” of the Covid-19 pandemic in seeking interim bail on medical grounds. The agency and the state had submitted that Bharadwaj was being provided medical facilities and the authorities are maintaining jails as per Covid-19 protocols.
On Friday, Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh and advocate Sandesh Patil, appearing for NIA, told the HC that the agency had submitted a doctor’s report on Bharadwaj’s medical condition and a report on the medical facilities available for inmates at Byculla jail before the NIA court, following which the bail plea was rejected.
The HC, however, sought a fresh report on the condition of the jail and precautions being taken in view of the Covid-19 situation. The court posted further hearing on July 17.
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