Supreme Court: The vacation bench of Vineet Saran and BR Gavai, JJ has stayed the Allahabad High Court’s order wherein it was held that apprehension of being infected with COVID-19 after coming into contact with authorities was a valid ground for anticipatory bail.
The High Court had granted anticipatory bail to one Prateek Jain “on account of special conditions and on special ground”. The applicant had contended that if he is arrested and subjected to the subsequent procedures of detention in lock-up, production before the Magistrate, grant or rejection of bail or incarceration in jail, etc., the apprehension to his life will certainly arise.
In such circumstances, the High Court had noticed that during the compliance of procedures provided under Cr.P.C. or any special act, an accused will definitely come in contact with number of persons. He will be arrested by police, confined in lock-up, produced before the Magistrate and if his bail application is not granted promptly, he will be sent to jail for an indefinite period till his bail is granted by the Higher Court.
“The accused may be suffering from the deadly infections of corona virus, or police personnels, who have arrested him, kept him in lock-up, produced him before the Magistrate and then took him to jail may also be infected persons. Even in jail large number of inmates have been found to be infected. There is no proper testing, treatment and care of the persons confined in jails.”
Challenging the said order before the Supreme Court, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta submitted that the larger issue was involved in the matter, as various directions have been issued by the High Court with regard to grant of bail in the present Covid situation.
The Court, hence, directed,
“Keeping in view the totality of facts and circumstances of the present case, we direct that as far as the general observations and directions in the impugned order are concerned, the same shall remain stayed and the Courts shall not consider the said directions while considering other application for anticipatory bail, which shall be decided on the merit of each case, and not on the basis of observations made in the impugned order.”
Court also appointed Senior Advocate V. Giri as an amicus curiae in the matter.
Warning the respondent Prateek Jain, the Court said that if he fails to appear on the next date of hearing, it shall be considered to be a good ground for cancellation of anticipatory bail granted to him by the High Court.
Read the detailed directions issued by the Allahabad High Court here:
[State of Uttar Pradesh v. Prateek Jain, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 400, order dated 25.05.2021]
Appearances before the Court:
Mr. Tushar Mehta, SG
Ms. Garima Prashad, AAG
Mr. Sarvesh Singh Baghel, AOR
Mr. Abhinav Agrawal, Adv