New Delhi | The Supreme Court on Friday granted jailed former Delhi minister Satyendar Jain interim bail for six weeks on medical grounds, saying a citizen has a right to receive treatment of his choice in a private hospital at his own expense.
The relief came a day after Jain collapsed in Tihar Jail due to dizziness and was admitted to the ICU of a government hospital. Photos showed the AAP leader on oxygen support.
Jain was claimed to have lost 30 kg while lodged in jail.
The Aam Aadmi Party leader has been in Tihar Jail since his arrest by the Enforcement Directorate in a money laundering case in May last year.
A vacation bench of Justices JK Maheshwari and PS Narasimha allowed Jain, 58, to undergo treatment in a hospital of his choice and asked him to produce medical records by July 10.
"After hearing learned counsel for the parties, at present there is no reason to disbelieve the Report of GB Pant Institute of Post Graduate Medical Education and Research. We think it appropriate that the citizen is having a right to take treatment of his choice, at his own expenses, in a private hospital.
"Therefore, we deem it appropriate to release the petitioner on interim bail on medical grounds for a limited period of six weeks," the bench said.
The top court also imposed certain conditions like Jain shall not influence or meet the witnesses and not leave the National Capital Region (NCR) without leave of the trial court. It said during the period when he is on interim bail, all relevant treatment papers and documents related to prognoses shall be produced before the apex court. It also asked Jain to stay away from media, including social media.
"The petitioner (Satyendar Jain) shall refrain himself to appear before Print or Electronic Media or any social media platform to give any statement on any issue during the interim bail," the bench said in its order.
It listed the matter for further hearing on July 10.
Senior advocate Abhishek Singhvi, appearing for Jain, said the former minister is suffering from a spine problem, has lost 35 kg weight and has virtually turned into a skeleton.
He placed on record the medical reports of Jain issued by the GB Pant Institute of Post Graduate Medical Education and Research, New Delhi, dated May 4, 2023.
Singhvi said the hospital is the mandatory referral hospital for Tihar jail and its report cannot be refuted.
Additional Solicitor General SV Raju, appearing for the ED, sought Jain's examination by a panel of doctors at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) or Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital.
If medical reports suggest treatment, the probe agency will not oppose it, he said.
He submitted that Jain had moved petitions for bail on medical grounds in the case earlier as well, but the pleas were withdrawn as the agency sought his examination by a medical board of AIIMS or RML hospital.
"He was health minister and jail minister of Delhi. He needs to be examined at a hospital that was not under him," Raju said, claiming earlier medical reports prepared by hospitals were found to be fake.
The bench said it is considering enlarging Jain on medical bail but will look at the possibility of his examination by doctors of either AIIMS or RML hospital on the next date of hearing.
On Thursday, Jain was first admitted to Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Hospital and later shifted to Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Narayan (LNJP) Hospital due to breathing problems, AAP leaders had said. He was "critically ill", they claimed.
The LNJP Hospital is the largest hospital under the Delhi government.
It was the second time in a week that the former minister was taken to a hospital. Earlier, too, Jain had fallen in the bathroom and suffered a serious spinal injury, the AAP said.
On April 6, the Delhi High Court had dismissed Jain's bail plea in the money laundering case, noting the witnesses claim he was the "conceptualiser, initiator and fund provider" in the alleged crime.
The ED had arrested Jain on May 30 last year on the charge of laundering money through four companies allegedly linked to him.