A court in Delhi on Thursday ordered Tihar Jail authorities to immediately take Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad to All India Institute of Medical Sciences for medical treatment, Live Law reported. “It is the duty of the state to preserve life whether person is incarcerated or outside prison,” said Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Arul Verma.

On Wednesday, in an interim order, the court had ordered the jail administration to provide Azad immediate medical attention. Azad has been in prison since December 21, a day after leading a massive protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act in Old Delhi’s Daryaganj area. The hearing was adjourned on Wednesday after the Daryaganj police failed to submit Azad’s medical report.

In his application, moved on Monday, Azad said he was suffering from polycythemia, a blood disease that may lead to cardiac arrest if not treated urgently. The disease “requires continuous checkup from the doctors concerned from AIIMS, who are supervising his treatment for a long time,” he added. The court also noted that two doctors had certified that Azad was suffering from polycythemia.

“The jail authorities don’t know the treatment required,” Azad’s lawyer Mehmood Pracha told the court on Thursday. “They are treating him for conjunctivitis. Tooth extraction was required. But he was having heaviness of eyes and itching over the body. He needs to go to AIIMS.” Pracha added that Azad was a political prisoner, and not a “hardened criminal”.

An officer from Tihar Jail claimed the Bhim Army chief was being provided proper treatment, and opposed the plea to shift him to AIIMS. But the court was not satisfied. “Why should there be an objection unless there’s a specific provision in jail manual on the basis of which he can’t be sent to AIIMS?” the judge asked.