File image of activist Varavara Rao (Image: PTI)
The Bombay High Court on Friday adjourned till October 13 the hearing on a bail extension plea filed by poet-activist Varavara Rao, an accused in the Elgar Parishad case, and said he need not surrender before Taloja jail authorities till October 14.
Rao (82) was granted interim bail for six months on medical grounds by the HC on February 22 this year, and was scheduled to surrender and return to judicial custody on September 5.
However, Rao filed an application, through his lawyers R Sathyanarayanan and senior counsel Anand Grover, seeking extension of such bail, as well as permission to stay in his hometown, Hyderabad. while out on bail.
On Friday a bench of Justices SS Shinde and NJ Jamadar adjourned the hearing on his plea due to paucity of time, and said Rao needn't surrender until October 14 after the NIA said it was willing to extend till that date its interim statement that no coercive action will be taken against Rao.
The NIA, in an affidavit filed earlier this month, opposed Rao's plea saying the 82-year-old's medical reports do not indicate that he suffers from any serious medical ailment, which made it necessary for him to take treatment at Hyderabad, neither did it form a ground for further extension of bail.
The NIA affidavit said Taloja prison had adequate health care facilities, and Rao can be provided with the "best medical facilities" there. At the time of being granted bail, Rao was undergoing treatment at Nanavati Hospital here for multiple ailments.
As part of the stringent conditions imposed while being given interim bail by HC, Rao has been staying with his wife in a rented accommodation in the city.
In his plea seeking extension of medical bail and modification of bail conditions, Rao has said that, as per the doctors at Nanavati hospital, he is suspected to have a neurological issue known as cluster headache that needs further examination.
Rao has further said in the plea that he continues to suffer from multiple ailments, including urinary tract infection with recurrent hyponatremia, suspicion of Parkinsons' disease, lacunar infarcts in six major lobes of the brain, and some eye problems.
He said in his plea that if he returned to custody in the Taloja prison, which was not equipped to cater to his medical problems, his health would certainly deteriorate and he might die.
Rao, who sought that his medical bail be extended for another six months, in his plea said he found living in Mumbai and accessing health facilities in the city unaffordable and had urged HC to let him stay in Hyderabad while out in bail.