Poet and activist, Varavara Rao, who has been in jail for over two years in connection with the Koregaon-Bhima case, was granted bail by the Bombay High Court on February 22.
The 81-year-old activist has been asked by the Bombay HC to remain in Mumbai and be available for investigation whenever required. The court further asked Rao to provide a personal bond of Rs. 50,000 and attend the National Investigation Agency (NIA) court for trial.
"However, he may apply from exemption from personal appearance before NIA court," the court said.
Rao will be discharged from Nanavati Hospital depending upon his health condition and will remain within the jurisdiction of NIA Court Mumbai for six months.
A bench of Justices S S Shinde and Manish Pitale said if it did not grant Rao medical bail, it would be abdicating its duty "to protect the principles of human rights and a citizen's fundamental rights to life and health."
Speaking to The Logical Indian, senior lawyer Anand Grover, who has been representing Rao in the case said, "This is a historic decision as for the first time, a constitutional court has given a medical bail to a person who is under trial. I had argued that facilities of the Taloja jail do not have the facilities to treat a person in the condition of Varavara Rao and therefore, he needs to be released on bail."
"Rao has to be in the jurisdiction of the NIA court in Mumbai. He cannot leave Mumbai, he cannot talk to the media or any co-accused or any witnesses. He cannot speak about the case, " the lawyer said.
Talking about others who have accused in the Bhima-Koregaon case, Grover said, "This will open up avenues for others accused in the case."
The activist has been under custody awaiting trial since August 2018.
Early in February, senior lawyer Indira Jaising, who was representing Rao, cited his poor health condition before the court and highlighted that of the 365 days since last February, he spent 149 days in the hospital.
Jaising urged the court to release Rao where he was lodged as an undertrial.
The case involves allegations of provocative speeches made at the Elgar Parishad conclave in Pune on December 31, 2017. The police had claimed that the alleged inflammatory speeches led to violence near the Koregaon-Bhima war memorial the next day.
Rao, who led "Veerasam", an association of revolutionary writers, however, had strongly rejected the charges.
Rao, along with nine other activists, was accused of plotting the violence with Maoists.