Case BriefsCOVID 19High Courts

Rajasthan High Court: Pankaj Bhandari, J. while addressing the present petition, held that,

“…at the time of complete lockdown the bail applications, Appeals under SC/ST Act, applications for suspension of sentence cannot be considered to be of extreme urgency.”

Bail applications, Appeals under SC/ST Act, Revisions and Appeals with applications for suspension of sentence were listed in the category of urgent matters.

When the entire country except essential services is under closure, whether the above would fall within the category of extremely urned matters is the question raised.

Rajasthan High Court had issued notification with regard to listing of only urgent matters dated 24-03-2020.

Criminal Appeals under SC/ST Act pertaining to bails effecting service on the complainant before passing any order in favor of the accused is the mandate of the SC/ST Act.

In the present lockdown condition even sending notice through Police personnel may pose risk of spreading COVID-19 as even police personnels have been quarantined.

There is complete closure of public transport hence it cannot and should not be expected from the police personnel that they would leave the emergent task given under the “the Act” to effect service on the complaint.

Bench also observed, that any order passed in favour of petitioner or appellant would be an order adverse to Complainant/State and presently when Lawyers are abstaining from work on account of call given by Bar Council of Rajasthan, Complainant would be deprived of his right to engage a Lawyer and oppose the bail application/ application for suspension of sentence.

Further, the bench stated that, Release of an accused or convict at the cost of breaching order of lockdown and at the cost of risking lives of many cannot be considered to fall within the category of “extremely urgent matter.”

It was also noted from the report of DG Prisons that there is no overcrowding of prisons and regular checkups of the inmates is being done.

Thus, in view of the above, Registrar Judicial is directed not to list Bails, appeals applications for suspension of sentence in Appeals and Revisions in the category of “extreme urgent matters”.[Shahrukh v. State of Rajasthan,  2020 SCC OnLine Raj 400, decided on 31-03-2020]