Court orders transfer of detained India Jesuit priest Stan Swamy to private hospital

Social activist and Jesuit priest Father Stan Swamy several days before his arrest. (YouTube screen grab/Jharkhand Janadhikar Mahasabha)

The Bombay High Court has ordered prison authorities on Friday, May 28, to immediately transfer detained Jesuit priest Stanislaus Lourduswamy, known as Stan Swamy, to a private hospital.

The court ordered the priest’s transfer from Taloja Central Jail in Navi Mumbai to the Holy Family Hospital in Mumbai following reports that his health condition has worsened in the past days.

The court conducted an urgent hearing on Father Swamy’s appeal for interim bail after the special National Investigation Agency court had rejected his earlier petitions.

“Dear friends, the court heard the matter and allowed Stan to be admitted in Holy Family hospital for two weeks,” read a statement from Father Cedric Prakash of the Society of Jesus in India.

The priest said that once the court reopens, it will hear Father Swamy’s bail applications.

“Work will be done on shifting him as soon as possible,” said Father Prakash. “The procedures will take some time. We will try to get him admitted today itself.”

Reports said Father Swamy was brought to the hospital later on Friday.

On May 19, the High Court had directed the dean of state-run J J hospital to set up an expert committee to examine Father Swamy’s medical condition and submit a report by May 21.

The priest was produced before the court in a video conference of May 21 but he refused the court’s suggestion to be transferred to J J hospital.

The 84-year old Jesuit told the court that his health condition has been deteriorating since his detention in October last year.

The priest suffers from Parkinson’s disease, hearing impairment and other age-related illnesses.

On Friday, senior counsel Mihir Desai, representing Father Swamy, told that court that the priest was ready to undergo treatment at Holy Family Hospital and will himself bear the cost.

“The health of the appellant is deteriorating and it is necessary to admit him so that he gets proper treatment,” said the counsel.

In its order, the court noted that the priest “can be given a choice of Holy Family Hospital for his treatment for 15 days.”

“The appellant will bear the expenses. We request that the administration of the said hospital provide one attendant keeping in view the age of the appellant,” read the court order. - with a report from Frank Krishner of RVA News