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Written by: Ayushi Arya (Intern)
Edited by: Anubhav Yadav (Content Head & Developer)

On Friday 21 st May the bench of Bombay High Court of Justice SJ Kathawalla and Justice SP Tavade allowed Sudha Bharadwaj, accused of Bhima Koregaon Violence to receive her medical records. Court also stated that the same shall be applicable to all the prisoners under Article 21 of the constitution of India.

BACKGROUND

Sudha Bharadwaj is in the prison because she is one of the accused of Bhima Koregaon Case. The case was of incident of violence that took place on 1st January 2018, when the crowd of lakhs of Dalits gathered to celebrate 200 th anniversary of the Battle of Bhima Koregaon. The FIR filed on 8 th January 2018 by a right-wing activist Tushar Damgude alleging that the violence broke out due to the provocative speeches held at Elgar Parishad event on 31 st December 2017.

A plea was filed in High Court by Bhima Koregaon, accused advocate Sudha Bharadwaj’sΒ daughter, Maaysha Singh, for seeking bail of her mother on medical grounds as Sudha Bharadwaj is present at Byculla Women’s prison. The motive of the petition was providing proper medical treatment for her mother because her mother was not being provided medical attention.
Advocate Yug Choudhary informed the bench on behalf of petitioner that before filing the petition in High Court, the petitioner and Bharadwaj made many requests to the prison authorities to refer Bharadwaj to a hospital outside the prison. He said that when the petition was filed and the order passed in the last hearing after that Bharadwaj had been taken a hospital and underwent through several tests. Hence, one of the requests mentioned in the petition had been satisfied. Because of this, he said that he is not pressing the court for the second request for bail on medical ground.

Choudhary claimed that there were numerous petitions being filed in the High Court on the issue that prisoners are not getting proper medical attention in the jail. To overcome these issues, he made two suggestions in front of the bench:

1. Copies of the test reports and medicines prescribed should be given to prisoners.

2. Prisoners should be entitled to make one phone call to an approved family member or lawyers after a hospital visit.

Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh, on behalf of NIA (National Investigation Agency), replied on the suggestions of Choudhary that these suggestions are State’s diplomacy and said that he had no objection with the suggestions except the one that prisoner should be allowed to make a call to the lawyer. ASG said that there is no work of a lawyer in medical treatment. Additional Public Prosecutor JP Yagnit appearing for state prison authorities also did not oppose the suggestions.

JUDGMENT

High Court directed the state prison administration to make sure that prisoners who have been taken to a hospital for a check-up should be given access to their medical records, test results and medicines prescribed as it is the right to life and personal liberty under Article 21 of the constitution of India. The court also ordered the prison authorities that prisoners must be entitled to make one phone call to an approved family member after the visit to the hospital by following the concord. The court also dissolved the petition as Choudhary was not pressing for second plea.

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