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Ensure efficacious treatment of ex-PFI chairman: Delhi HC to Tihar Jail superintendent

New Delhi, Feb 2 (IANS) The Delhi High Court on Thursday granted time to the National Investigation Agency (NIA) to file a response to an application moved by the former chairman of Popular Front of India (PFI), Erappungal Abubacker, challenging the order of a special judge rejecting his bail application on medical grounds.

During the last hearing, Abubacker’s counsel had contended that his client deserved bail as per Section 45 of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), which states that a person who is sick/infirm is liable to be granted bail while considering twin conditions.

A division bench of Justices Siddharth Mridul and Talwant Singh also directed Tihar Jail’s medical superintendent to ensure proper treatment for Abubacker on a regular basis.

“The medical superintendent of Tihar Jail is directed to ensure that the appellant is provided efficacious treatment for all his illnesses on a regular basis,” the bench said.

Abubacker’s counsel, advocate Adit Pujari, informed the court that based on a virtual meeting, an affidavit has been filed about his client’s recent medical condition, which has also been verified by Abubacker’s son.

Pujari said: “He cannot wake up without a ‘sevadaar’, who he cannot even communicate with him. His language is Malayalam or English. This gentleman is someone with no prior antecedents. This is the first and only case against him. He has been a school teacher. He is someone who is 71 and seeing the confines of prison for the first time.”

To this, NIA’s counsel opposed the position and referring to a video, argued that Abubacker is clearly seen addressing thousands of people in Hindi.

The bench said: “Place the video on record.”

The bench then granted time to the NIA to file a response to Abubacker’s application.

During the last hearing on January 12, Pujari had submitted that Article 21 of the Constitution itself mentions the Right to Life & Dignity.

In response, the court had ordered Pujari to provide a thorough statement outlining how Article 21 of Constitution was being violated in this particular case.

Pujari had also said that despite the court’s December 19 directive, Abubacker’s son was not permitted to meet him.

He had claimed that Abubacker’s son was sent back from the jail without even being allowed to meet his father.

Additionally, he had said that the Parkinson’s aspect had not been covered and a vital component of treating cancer is maintaining a healthy diet. Pujari had also stated that bail had already been granted to others.

The bench had asked Pujari to identify any other defendants who had been granted bail in a similar case.

“Please tell us. We should know what you are urging, we will be the ones passing the orders,” the bench said.

Special public prosecutor Akshai Malik, appearing for the NIA, had said that Abubacker has been provided a jail ‘sevadaar’ and was receiving the greatest care possible.

Moreover, he had also submitted that a direction has been given by the trial court to conduct a regular follow-up of his medical treatment.

Abubacker was arrested by the NIA on September 22, 2022, and charged under the provisions of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA).

He has been in judicial custody since October 6, 2022. He was active in organisations like the Ideal Students League, Jamaat-e-Islami, and Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI).

According to Abubacker, he is suffering from multiple ailments, including a rare type of oesophagus cancer, Parkinson’s disease, hypertension, diabetes, and loss of vision.