The Bombay High Court on Thursday said tribal rights activist Stan Swamy will remain at a hospital in Mumbai till July 5 after going through a report on his health condition, reported Live Law. The medical report stated that Swami’s health condition continued to be critical and that he needed extensive care.
In May, Swamy’s health condition had deteriorated and he was shifted to Holy Family Hospital in Mumbai. This came after, on May 28, the Bombay High Court had ordered Swamy to be moved to a hospital for 15 days.
In the last hearing on June 10, the High Court had extended the 84-year-old activist’s stay in hospital till June 18. The bench of Justices SS Shinde and NJ Jamadar had then directed the Holy Family Hospital to submit Swamy’s medical reports to the High Court.
On Thursday, the division bench also ordered that the medical report be made available to the appellant, the National Investigation Agency, and the respondents. It then directed NIA’s counsel to make his submission in the next hearing on July 3.
The High Court was hearing Swamy’s appeal against the rejection of his bail pleas. The 84-year-old activist has been in custody since October in connection with the 2018 Bhima Koregaon case.
Swamy, who suffers from Parkinson’s disease, had filed an appeal against two orders of the NIA court. The first is in connection with the rejection of Swamy’s emergency bail application on health grounds in October. The second appeal is from March 21 when his plea based on merits was denied.
In the appeal, Swamy cited his age and acute Parkinson’s disease for relief, besides contending that no case was made out against him.
On Wednesday, the NIA filed an affidavit, opposing the bail plea, reported Bar and Bench. In its affidavit, the central agency alleged that Swamy had carried out activities aimed at achieving goals of the banned organisation Communist Party of India (Maoist) under the garb of aiding the tribal community.
Supporting the special court’s rejection of Swamy’s bail plea on health grounds, the affidavit said the judge had considered the coronavirus management and availability of medical treatment in prisons before passing its order.
The affidavit said that Swamy, along with the co-accused in the case, were “active members of the banned organisation of Communist Party of India (Maoist) and deeply knitted with their unlawful activities”.
“When an accused has committed a crime (of a high gravity under special statute like the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act) whose ulterior motive is to overthrow the democracy, certainly not age but the act of the accused has to be taken into account,” it said.
The central agency contended that Swamy’s stature could not outweigh the offences he has committed. “Under the pretence of his stature and of voicing for tribal community, Swamy is actually accomplishing the agenda of CPI (Maoist),” the affidavit claimed. “The ghastly truth is that in the name of social cause, social activities, etc., Swamy and co-accused are actually working to achieve the goal of CPI (Maoist).”
The central agency claimed that Swamy had tried to dispose the evidence available on his electronic devices. This act implied that the activist was trying to escape the criminal justice system, it alleged.
The affidavit said that the NIA had framed the charges against Swamy but the accused kept filing applications “one after the other to delay the judicial process and use it as a ground for release on bail”.
Swamy was arrested on October 8 by the NIA from Ranchi, and brought to Mumbai the next day.
Swamy has been charged under various sections of the Indian Penal Code and terror-related offences of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act for allegedly furthering the cause of the Communist Party of India (Maoist) through various civil rights organisations he worked with.
In his bail plea in March, Swamy had said that he was being targeted by the NIA because of his writings and work related to caste and land struggles of the people.
Several activists and academics have been accused of making inflammatory speeches at the Elgar Parishad conclave held at Shaniwar Wada in Pune on December 31, 2017, which the authorities claim triggered violence at Bhima-Koregaon war memorial the next day.