In what could spell some relief for Telugu poet V V Rao, the Bombay High Court on Thursday ordered the Taloja jail authorities and also the National Investigation Agency (NIA) to arrange for his medical examination. The HC has ordered the authorities to ensure that the examination, preferably by a panel of doctors at Nanavati hospital, take place either through video conferencing or physically.
A vacation bench of Justices Anil Menon and Surendra Tavade have asked the authorities to conduct the medical examination latest by Friday so that a report could be submitted before it on November 17.
The bench was dealing with a plea filed by Rao's wife P Hemalatha seeking orders to shift her ailing husband to Nanavati hospital, where he was treated last time.
In her plea, Hemalatha urged the judges to declare that the authorities have violated her husband's right to a dignified life and liberty by not providing better medical facilities. She claimed that her husband's health has been deteriorating day-by-day.
Appearing for Hemalatha, senior counsel Indira Jaising urged the bench to release Rao at the earliest.
"My client's health has deteriorated. He has dementia and has developed severe urinary conditions. If he isn't released he might die," Jaising told the judges while appearing through video conference.
"If he isn't released and dies in prison, it would be a case of custodial death. Thus, he must be released and shifted to Nanavati hospital," she added.
The NIA opposed the request saying the accused cannot choose his doctors and that the ability of government doctors cannot be undermined.
Having considered the submissions, the bench said it was primarily concerned with the health of the applicant (Rao).
"Thus, let the medical team preferably from Nanavati hospital examine him either virtually or physically, latest by Friday," Justice Menon said.
The bench will take up the matter for further hearing on November 17.