Bombay HC Extends Political Prisoner Varavara Rao’s Surrender Date Till March 3

Mumbai, February 26, 2022: The Bombay High Court on Saturday extended the date for Telugu poet and political prisoner Varavara Rao, an accused in the Elgaar Parishad case, to return to jail till March 3. In doing so, the court extended the medical bail granted to Rao till the aforementioned date.

The poet and activist was granted medical bail for six months on February 22, last year, and was later allowed to extend it till February 28, 2022.

On Saturday, the matter was brought up before a division bench of Justice Sunil B Shukre and Justice Amit B Borkar.

Rao’s plea stated that the six-month period following his release from jail had ended on September 5 and that he continues to suffer from various ailments. The 82-year-old added that medical reports showed he has asymptomatic Parkinson’s disease, neurological ailments and severe abdomen pain, indicating evidence of umbilical hernia.

Rao also sought modification of the HC’s condition that he must not leave Mumbai, seeking that he be allowed to return to Telangana.

Earlier this week, Justice S S Shinde recused from hearing cases pertaining to the Bhima Koregaon-Elgaar Parishad case. Thereafter, Chief Justice Dipankar Datta assigned Justice Shukre-led bench to hear the cases.

Justice Shinde-led bench will now only hear the petition filed by Rao, Vernon Gonsalves and Arun Ferreira seeking a review of the December 1 order of the court that refused to grant them default bail as the same bench had passed the verdict.

Last month, Justice Prasanna B Varale had recused himself from hearing the plea by Rao seeking extension of medical bail granted to him by the High Court in February last year. Thereafter, Justice Varale recused himself from hearing other Elgaar Parishad matters, leading them to be transferred to the alternate bench led by Justice Shinde.

On Saturday, Justice Shukre-led bench posted Rao’s plea to March 1, when it likely to conduct the final hearing of the same.

Meanwhile, the lawyer representing co-accused Anand Teltumbde mentioned the plea challenging the denial of bail by trial court, and certain provisions of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA). The HC will hear Teltumbde’s plea on March 2.

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