Durban - Questions around how Westville prison inmate Rajiv Narandas was awarded an after-hours High Court order for cough drops and a drug commonly used for sinusitis, have been raised in the Durban High Court.
Narandas’s legal team raced to the court in the dead of night last month to secure an order against the Department of Correctional Services, granting the one-time socialite access to over-the-counter throat lozenges and a course of antibiotics.
This, the court heard on Wednesday, was after Narandas’s mother Roseanne visited him at Westville Prison – where he is serving 15 years for murder – and found him “unwell”.
She arranged medication for him but then prison authorities refused to allow it in – and so the family turned to the courts.
The matter, which had not been finalised, was before Acting Judge Liz Law on Wednesday and she wanted to know how the application was heard in the first place.
“There are no papers in the court file,” she said. “How did this come to be?”
The only document in the file was the order, dated Sunday, September 24.
“I’m at a complete loss as to how this order was granted,” Acting Judge Law said.
It subsequently emerged that the application was heard in chambers but, despite the judge’s request for more information regarding the papers, advocate Lee Reddy – acting for Narandas – was unable to take the matter any further.
Reddy requested an adjournment for Narandas to secure a medical evaluation.
She said he was still unwell.
But for the department, advocate Dashendra Naidoo asked that the order be set aside. He said this was not a matter of “life or death”.
“Mr Narandas has a sore throat. You don’t get a High Court order for a sore throat,” Naidoo said.
He said the order “should never have been granted in the first place” and asked that Narandas be made to pay the costs of the application.
After much deliberation, Acting Judge Law agreed with Naidoo.
She set aside the order and awarded the department costs for Wednesday’s appearances.
Approached for comment on Wednesday afternoon, KwaZulu-Natal Judge President Achmat Jappie said it was not normal for an application to be brought without papers.
“All applications are brought on (a) notice of motion with founding affidavits.
“However, (there are) circumstances or grounds for urgency which would permit a judge to dispense with the requirements of the relevant rule,” he said.
Narandas stabbed Veenand Singh to death outside the Shoukara nightclub in Sandton in 2008.
After a protracted court battle, the Alexandra Magistrate’s Court convicted him of murder in May 2014.
He was initially sentenced to 18 years behind bars, but this was reduced to 15 years.
The Supreme Court of Appeal last year dismissed an application to overturn Narandas’s conviction and sentence and so he approached the Constitutional Court.
There too, however, he was unsuccessful.
Narandas caused a stir when he failed to report to prison after exhausting all of his appeal options.
Gauteng police eventually arrested him in Durban.