MUMBAI: The Bombay High Court directed the Taloja prison authorities on Wednesday to take Jesuit priest Stan Swamy, an accused in the Elgar Parishad-Maoist links case, to the JJ Hospital here for a medical examination.
Swamy, 84, must be examined at the state-run medical facility at 10.30 am on Thursday, it said.
A vacation bench of Justices S J Kathawalla and S P Tavade directed the hospital's dean to form a committee of expert doctors, including a neuro-physician, an ENT specialist, an orthopaedic, a general physician, and other doctor required, to examine Swamy.
The bench also directed the state government to submit a report of the medical examination before the HC by May 21.
The court asked authorities of the Taloja prison in neighbouring Navi Mumbai, where Swamy is lodged, to arrange for him to be produced before the HC via video-conferencing at 4 pm on May 21, if the prison has such facilities.
Swamy had approached the HC earlier this year through senior counsel Mihir Desai, challenging a special court's decision in March wherein the latter rejected his bail sought on medical grounds and on merits.
During the last hearing in the HC on May 4, a bench led by Justice Shinde directed the state authorities to file a report on Swamy's current health condition by May 15.
Advocate Desai had then told the bench that Swamy was arrested in October 2020 and since his arrest, he has remained in the Taloja prison hospital.
Swamy is in the advanced stage of Parkinson's disease, Desai had said.
He has lost the ability to hear, and given the raging COVID-19 pandemic, the court must at least grant Swamy temporary bail, the advocate had said.
On Thursday, the state and the National Investigation Agency (NIA), which is conducting a probe into the Elgar Parishad-Maoist links case, opposed Swamy's bail plea.
The state's counsel, Y P Yagnik, told the HC that Swamy was being taken care of in the prison.
He said Swamy was being provided hot water for bathing, a sipper cup, hearing aid and two attendants to assist him in the prison.
Yagnik also said Swamy was taken to the JJ Hospital on Tuesday evening and given the first dose of vaccine against COVID-19.
Advocate Desai, however, pointed out that inmates were being administered the vaccine in the prison itself and not in hospitals.
The NIA's counsel, Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh, told the HC that in the past, Swamy himself had expressed satisfaction with the facilities provided to him in the Taloja prison.
But, advocate Desai said Swamy suffered from various medical ailments and his health had further deteriorated in the past few weeks. On May 17, Desai filed a note in the HC, stating that Swamy's health condition was further deteriorating. As per the note, Swamy complained of fever and weakness.
He was taking several allopathic medicines, including anti-biotics prescribed by the Taloja hospital's Ayurveda doctors, it said.
The note reiterated that given his ill-health and severe co-morbidities, Swamy was at the risk of contracting coronavirus infection and his life was under "imminent threat due to his medical condition, advanced age, and lack of medical facilities at the Taloja prison".
The HC will hear the plea further on May 21.
The case relates to alleged inflammatory speeches made at a conclave held in Pune on December 31, 2017, which the police claimed triggered violence the next day near the Koregaon-Bhima war memorial in the district.
The Pune police claimed the conclave was backed by Maoists. The case was later taken over by the NIA. Several other activists, including Sudha Bharadwaj and Varavara Rao, had been arrested in the case.