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Treat undertrial now, HC tells AIIMS

TNN | Sep 23, 2014, 03.38 AM IST
NEW DELHI: Coming to the rescue of a suspected Maoist lying in a police station in the city, the Delhi high court on Monday ordered AIIMS to treat him immediately.

Chandan Deonath (38) needs urgent surgery for a brain tumour, say the lawyers who moved the court seeking its intervention, as AIIMS had said it had a waiting list of patients and Deonath must await his turn.

Acting on a plea filed through People’s Union For Democratic Rights (PUDR), Justice Vibhu Bakhru asked the station house officer of the Hauz Khas police station and AIIMS to “provide immediate medical treatment to the undertrial prisoner”. The court will hear the case again on Tuesday when it will also take stock of his treatment and medical condition.

Deonath, who had been in Saraikela jail in Jamshedpur district of Jharkhand since November 27, 2007 for his alleged Maoist activities, is partially paralyzed and has been “housed in a verandah” of the police station since September 9.

Senior lawyer Colin Gonsalves prayed for the court to step in, saying “this is a matter of life and death”. Deonath suffers from stage III penial tumour and hydrocephalus (abnormal accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid in the cavities of the brain) but the authorities have failed to provide him treatment, he said.

According to the petition filed by advocates Rishabh Sancheti and Ashish V Padmapriya, the tumour, along with the hydrocephalus, is so big that one half of Deonath’s body has been paralyzed. He is unable to control his bowel and urine movements and won’t survive unless he gets immediate medical attention.

“In a complete go-by to the most basic, threshold fundamental rights, neither police officials nor AIIMS saw the situation and acted upon it. The facts of the case present a grave violation of Art 21 (protection of life and personal liberty) of the Constitution. Can an undertrial, howsoever grave the charges upon him be, be denied medical care which he deserves?” the petition argued.

The Centre, AIIMS, Jharkhand and Delhi Police must fix accountability for the inhuman treatment meted out to the undertrial so that “such violation of fundamental rights be forthwith proscribed”, it claimed. “Respondents must be directed to institute a mechanism, by empanelling hospitals, and providing the police/jail authorities with its details to eliminate the chances of an incident like the present happening ever again.”

Deonath, who was initially treated in Ranchi, was referred to AIIMS on August 29.

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