Raghu Ramakrishna Raju .. Image Source: IANS News

New Delhi, May 17 : The Supreme Court on Monday directed that Lok Sabha MP Kanumuri Raghurama Krishnam Raju, belonging to YSR Congress party, arrested by Andhra Pradesh police on sedition charges should be medically examined at Army Hospital, Secunderabad, in the presence of judicial officer.

A bench comprising of Justices Vineet Sarana and BR Gavai said the period of medical examination will be treated as judicial custody and it will also be video-graphed, and the medical reports should be submitted in court. The top court also asked the Andhra Pradesh government to respond to Raju's plea for interim bail within two days. The rebel MP of Andhra Pradesh's ruling party was arrested on charges of sedition by the police in Hyderabad on Friday.

The top court has also directed the Telangana High Court to nominate a judicial officer who will be with Raju during examination. The bench passed the order on an appeal filed by Raju challenging the May 15 order of the Andhra Pradesh High Court, which denied him bail in the matter. Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, representing Raju, urged the top court to grant his client ad-interim bail and a medical examination at a hospital, where the state government cannot interfere. Rohatgi submitted before the bench that Raju never gave a call to arms or incited violence, which was required to invoke sedition charges against him.

Senior Advocate Dushyant Dave, representing the Andhra Pradesh government, submitted the matter be kept for Friday this week, as the state government has not received a copy of the appeal. Dave said: "I make a statement we will take him to AIIMS today itself. The examination can be in presence of a senior judicial officer. Raju is also a citizen, and his rights too have to be upheld." Rohatgi argued it is best that AIIMS, New Delhi examines his client He added there are apprehension with his medical examination at AIIMS Mangalagiri, as the governing body has two prominent MPs of the ruling government of Andhra Pradesh.

He added that his client had applied for cancellation of bail granted to the Chief Minister. "This had wide ramifications. Let him travel to Delhi and get examined at AIIMS and be in house arrest till his bail plea is decided", submitted Rohatgi.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the Centre, said he had no objection to this arrangement.

The bench replied that there is nothing political here and it will appoint judicial officer in whose presence the medical examination can be conducted. The top court has scheduled the matter for further hearing on Friday. Raju, in the appeal, had claimed that the High Court did not consider any of the grounds for bail, instead asked him to move sessions court for bail. In his plea, Raju has also alleged indiscriminate beating by police.

Raju is an outspoken critic of his own party head and chief minister YS Jaganmohan Reddy.

The FIR was registered by the state CID on the basis of statements made by Raju on various digital platforms. The police have equated these speeches to hate speech and also creating enmity between castes and religions.

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