The Bombay High Court has said that late tribal activist Stan Swamy was a wonderful person and it has great respect for his work and the service that he had provided to society. The court’s division bench of Justice SS Shinde and Justice NJ Jamadar made the observations while hearing the appeals filed by the Jesuit priest in the Elgar Parishad case.
Notably, the 84-year-old activist, who was arrested in connection with the Bhima Koregaon violence, died on July 5 after his health deteriorated while in prison. It was the same bench that was adjudicating the bail plea of Swamy on medical grounds on July 5.
“We do not have time normally, but I saw the funeral service (of Swamy). It was very gracious,” Justice Shinde said. “Such a wonderful person. The kind of service he has rendered to society. We have great respect for his work. Legally, whatever is there against him is a different matter,” he added.
While responding to criticism that the NIA and the judiciary had received following Swamy’s death, the Bombay HC expressed regret over how, in several cases, undertrials languished in prisons waiting for the trial to begin. The bench, however, also said it had ensured to remain fair while passing orders on Swamy’s medical bail plea, as well as on the pleas filed by his co-accused in the Elgar Parishad-Maoist links case.
“You came to us with his medical bail plea on May 28 and we acceded to every prayer, every time,” the court said to Swamy’s advocate, senior counsel Mihir Desai. “Outside, we are speechless. Only you (Desai) can clarify this. You have said it on record that you have no grievance with this court in the matter,” the bench said.
“We never anticipated this will happen (Swamy’s death in custody). What was on our minds, we cannot say now as we couldn’t pronounce our order,” the HC said referring to the pending medical bail plea of the late Jesuit priest.
Unfortunate death Stan Swamy
On July 11, Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut had said that Swamy’s death in custody cannot be justified even if Naxals are dangerous than Kashmiri separatists. “A government that is scared of an 84-year-old physically challenged man is dictatorial in character, but weak in the mind,” Raut said.
Sanjay Raut, in his weekly column Rokhthok in Shiv Sena’s mouthpiece Saamana, said that criticising an incumbent government does not mean that being against the country. He also wondered whether the country’s foundation was so weak that an 84-year-old man can wage a war against it.
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