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Selective charging undermines rule of law, court told in Varavara Rao's bail plea

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Selective charging undermines rule of law, court told in Varavara Raos bail plea
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File photo of poet-activist Vavaravara Rao

Mumbai: "As an observer I can say that when you are selectively charging people you are undermining the rule of law," Senior Advocate told the Bombay High Court on Thursday, while hearing poet Varavara Rao's wife's plea seeking his immediate release.

Jaising made daring statements during the hearing as Public Prosecutor Deepak Thakre objected to Rao's wife P Hemalatha's petition seeking bail on medical grounds.

The government told the court that Rao, an accused under the UAPA in the Elgar Parishad – Maoist links case, could be shifted to the prison ward of Sir JJ Hospital, where the accused is now admitted owing to various medical complications including dementia.

Rao's wife has repeatedly said that the lack of infrastructure in the hospital to monitor his condition.

Jaising argued that to deny the right to health of a prisoner is an act of cruelty," she said before reminding the court that it was the state's responsibility to ensure wellbeing of a person imprisoned by an order of the court.

To this, court asked what would be her argument if all facilities were provided at the prison hospital. Jaising referred to Rao's past experience when his health worryingly deteriorated while he was in prison.

When the court sought to know the status of the case, NIA counsel Sandesh Patil informed the court that there are 200 witnesses cited in the charge sheet. Upon this Jaising warned that Rao would surely die in prison if 200 witnesses were to be examined.

While earnestly pleading the court to allow Rao to go back home to his family in Hyderabad after his discharge from the hospital, she said that in India the legal process was the punishment.

Jaising further cited international declarations on human rights: Universal Declaration of Human Rights, International Covenant for Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights along with the Protection of Human Rights Act.

The court will continue to hear the case on January 27, Wednesday.

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TAGS:Varavara Rao Elgar Parishad case Bhima Koregaon case Maoist 
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