The Bombay High Court, on Thursday extended 84-year-old tribal rights activist from Ranchi Father Stan Swamy's private hospital stay till June 18 after it was informed he had tested positive for covid-19. He is accused in the Bhima Koregaon - Elgar Parishad caste-based violence case.
A division bench of Justices SS Shinde and NJ Jamadar also directed Holy Family hospital to submit a report on the octogenarian's health by June 17 before adjourning his petition for hearing on June 18.
The court was hearing an appeal against the Special NIA court's decision to reject interim emergency bail to Father Stan, last October. The plea seeks his release on interim bail on medical grounds or, in the alternative, house arrest.
One of the oldest to be charged under the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, Father Swamy suffers from acute Parkinsons, hearing loss in both ears, has undergone two hernia operations. He also suffers intense pain due to lumbar spondylosis i.e wear and tear of the lumbar disc, and tremors in both hands.
During an earlier hearing before the vacation bench, Father Swamy had refused to get admitted to a hospital, pleading with the court to grant him interim bail so that he could be with his own. He told the court that his condition has progressively deteriorated in prison.
However, his counsel Senior Advocate Mihir Desai requested the court for time to convince him to take treatment in a hospital.
Finaly Desai moved the court on May 28, on an urgent request that his condition was deteriorating rapidly. The bench led by Justice Shinde directed the State to transfer Swamy to a private hospital immediately for 15 days.
On Thursday, Desai assisted by Advocate Mihir Joshi requested the court to continue its earlier order and allow Father Swamy to extend his hospital stay. He submitted that Father Swamy had tested positive for covid two days after being admitted to the hospital and is currently undergoing treatment.
Noting no significant opposition from the State or National Investigating Agency, the bench said they would continue their earlier order until June 18, when they were likely to hear his medical bail plea.
Father Stan was arrested on October 8, 2020, and charged under various sections of the IPC and offences under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act for allegedly furthering the cause of the banned CPI (Maoist) through various civil rights organisations he belongs to. He is accused, along with 15 other human rights activists.
Father Stan is the founder of Bagaicha, an organisation dedicated to empowering Adivasis, including fighting against illegal detention of minors charged with being Maoists. The NIA has claimed that Bagaicha is connected with Vistapan Virodhi Jan Vikas Andolan (VVJVA) and the latter is also a frontal organisation of the CPI (Maoist).
[Stan Swamy vs UOI]