Updated: July 26, 2021 08:47 AM GMT
An activist holds a placard during a protest demanding justice for 84-year-old Indian Jesuit priest and activist Father Stan Swamy in New Delhi on July 23. (Photo: AFP)
Bombay High Court has withdrawn its oral appreciation for Indian Jesuit Father Stan Swamy, who died under detention early this month, after strong opposition from a government pleader.The court’s withdrawal came on July 23 when it gathered to decide on the nature of investigation needed to find out the circumstances that led to the priest's death on July 5. He was 84.Government pleader Anil Singh, who appeared on behalf of the National Investigation Agency (NIA), which arrested Father Swamy on charges of sedition and terrorism, opposed the judges’ earlier appreciative comments.
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“We don’t have time normally, but I saw [online] the funeral service [of Father Swamy]. It was very gracious,” he said.They also said they did not anticipate his death.The judges also tried to counter criticism of the judicial system and the NIA, a federal anti-terror body, for repeatedly denying the priest’s bail applications on medical grounds.The government pleader said “any private comment or view ... Any personal comment coming from the judges ... in an investigation ... is being twisted by the media.”
The priest also tested positive for Covid-19 a day after his hospitalization, but he recovered.
Father Swamy, suffering from an advanced stage of Parkinson’s disease and several other age-related ailments, spent almost eight months in jail. The priest sought bail on health grounds but an NIA court repeatedly denied and delayed it despite knowing about his deteriorating health, Father Santhanam said.Father Swamy then appealed to Bombay High Court but amid continued opposition from the NIA he could not obtain bail for treatment.Father Santhanam appreciated the judges for their initiative that helped to admit Father Swamy to a Catholic-run hospital in Mumbai on May 28.The priest also tested positive for Covid-19 a day after his hospitalization, but he recovered.Father Swamy died from a cardiac arrest while undergoing treatment.His counsel Mihir Desai insisted on a judicial probe, rather than the general practice of a magisterial probe, into his death.Desai also pleaded with the court to allow Jesuit Father Frazer Mascarenhas, a former college principal, to join the inquiry as next of kin as he was the one who looked after Father Swamy during his hospitalization.