Mumbai: The Bombay High Court on Thursday asked the Breach Candy Hospital here not to discharge Delhi University associate professor Hany Babu, an accused in the Elgar Parishad-Maoist links case, till June 1 and sought a medical report on his condition and treatment given to him.
A vacation bench of Justices S S Shinde and N R Borkar said if the private hospital was to discharge Babu before June 1, then it shall first inform the court and take permission.
Babu tested positive for COVID-19 earlier this month and was initially brought from the Taloja prison in neighbouring Navi Mumbai to the government-run J J Hospital here. He was later shifted to the GT Hospital in Mumbai.
His wife Jenny Rowena subsequently filed a petition in the HC seeking interim bail and medical aid for him.
Their counsel Yug Chaudhry had argued that Babu developed a severe eye infection and ran the risk of losing vision in his left eye.
On May 19, the HC permitted Babu to be shifted to the Breach Candy Hospital in South Mumbai for medical treatment at his own cost.
On Thursday, Chaudhry sought an urgent hearing of the petition, saying Babu should not be discharged from the hospital and sent back to jail.
"From May 3 to May 12, the prison authorities systematically ignored his (Babu) complaint of eye infection. Currently, he is being treated at the Breach Candy Hospital. Our only request is he should not be discharged and sent back to jail on the ground that he does not require critical care anymore," Chaudhry said.
When the bench asked if Babu's eye ailment was the new black fungus infection, also known as mucormycosis, Chaudhry said the hospital had checked, but they (Babus family or lawyer) do not know whether it is a fungal infection or a bacterial infection.
The bench then said the hospital should submit to the court an interim report on Babu's condition and the treatment provided to him.
"This mucormycosis is a serious infection that affects the life of a person. This is very dangerous. We need to find out if he is getting proper treatment," Justice Shinde said.
The bench also noted that injections for this new post-COVID-19 ailment (mucormycosis) were available only at the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) and state-run hospitals.
"Today, we read somewhere that the BMC was now supplying the injections for black fungus to private hospitals too. We need to know if the Breach Candy Hospital has those injections," Justice Shinde said.
The court also said the state government and the National Investigation Agency (NIA), which is conducting a probe into the Elgar Parishad-Maoist links case, should not take this petition in an adversarial manner.
"The hospital shall submit an interim report on the medical treatment been given to Hany Babu by June 1. Till then, the hospital is requested not to discharge him. If they do then, this court should be informed and permission should be taken," the HC said.
The bench will hear the matter next on June 1.
Babu was arrested by the NIA in July 2020.
The Elgar Parishad 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. All of them have stoutly denied the charges.