NAGPUR: Allowing former journalist Prashant Rahi, serving life sentence on the charge of being a Maoist, to be examined by a gastroenterologist, the Nagpur bench of Bombay high court has observed that “even a convict is entitled to best of the medical treatment”.
Rahi (63), who was convicted in 2017 under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act in a case in Maharashtra involving Delhi University professor Sai Baba, is lodged in Amravati central jail. Allegedly a member of the banned CPI (Maoist), he was arrested in 2013 and charged under UAPA. He was the Uttarakhand correspondent of a Delhi-based English daily.
His daughter Shikha Rahi had filed a plea stating that her father was suffering from stomach ailments and urgently needed to be treated by a specialist.
In its order on Thursday, a division bench of justices Rohit Deo and Anil Pansare said, “Conviction does not dilute either the constitutional right under Article 21 or the basic human rights, one of the facets of which is that the convict received appropriate treatment.”
The court directed the government to submit a report on Rahi’s medical status during the next hearing which is scheduled on September 12.
Shikha moved the HC after she received two letters from Rahi speaking about his health condition.
In her plea, Shikha contended that even though the jail medical officer provided some treatment to her father, he continued to suffer from abdominal pain, vomiting and loose motions and needed diagnosis by a specialist.
She said the jail food contained excessive spices and palm oil. Rahi had suffered bouts of diarrhea earlier and was twice severely dehydrated. Later, instructions were given to provide him with a plain diet, but even that contained too much palm oil, the plea stated.