"COVID No Ground For Anticipatory Bail": SC Stays Allahabad HC Order

Today's SC order is at least the third instance wherein Uttar Pradesh has challenged orders passed by the Allahabad HC .

The Supreme Court on Tuesday stayed the Allahabad High Court observation which held that apprehension of death due to COVID was grounds for granting anticipatory bail.

"As far as observations are concerned it remains stayed and courts shall not consider the said directions (of the High Court) while granting anticipatory bail and must consider merits of each case while deciding the same," the vacation bench comprising Justices Vineet Saran and BR Gavai said.

The top court's order came on a plea filed by the Uttar Pradesh government which said the petition was "filed by a conman". "Kindly see the biodata of the accused. The entire judgment proceeds on the basis that COVID is a ground to grant anticipatory bail," Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said. Mehta, representing the UP government further added that the applicant—Prateek Jain—was a serial criminal with more than 130 criminal cases pending against him.

The top court issued notice and appointed an amicus curiae to look into the larger issues arising out of this order. The top court further ruled that the anticipatory bail would be canceled, and the order stayed if Jain failed to appear before the relevant authorities at the next date.

Stay on observations, not on relief

The vacation bench of the Supreme Court stayed the directions in the high court's May 10 order and barred courts from relying on the same to grant bail. Bail applications may be decided on the merits of the matter alone, the Supreme Court said.

The Allahabad High Court on May 10 observed that in light of the State's inadequate medical facilities, Jain would be left "unprotected" from the threat to their life on account of his arrest.

"Extraordinary times require extraordinary remedy and desperate times require remedial remedy. Law should be interpreted likewise," Justice Siddharth had observed.

"There is also threat of spread of third wave of novel coronavirus looming large over the entire country and it is uncertain when the aforesaid wave will abate, and normal functioning of the Courts would be restored. Therefore, the apprehension of an accused being infected with novel corona virus before and after his arrest and the possibility of his spreading the same while coming into contact with the police, Court and jail personnels or vice-versa can be considered to be a valid ground for grant of anticipatory bail to an accused," the high court order further read.

Also Read: Allahabad HC: Medical System In Rural UP Akin To 'Ram Bharose'

This order is at least the third instance wherein the UP government has challenged orders passed by the Allahabad High Court.

SC stays Allahabad High Court's 'Ram Bharose' order

The top court on May 21 stayed the Allahabad High Court's May 17 order which observed that the medical system in rural UP was akin to 'Ram Bharose' (at God's mercy). The high court order may be treated as advice as opposed to directions, SC said. "We are of the opinion that high courts should normally consider the possibility of execution of their directions. If such directions cannot be implemented, then such orders may not be passed. The doctrine of impossibility is equally applicable to courts," the vacation bench had said.

The Yogi Adityanath-led government had challenged the order where the high court had lamented that unless the state ramped up testing and failed to identify a COVID infected person at the earliest, it was definitely inviting a "third wave of the pandemic".

The high court's division bench comprising Justices Siddharth Varma and Ajit Kumar had gone on to issue directions which included enhancement of facilities at medical colleges within four months; increase in the fleet of ambulances in rural villages; oxygen facility to all beds in nursing homes; among other measures.

Also Read: SC Stays Allahabad HC Order On Lockdown in 5 Uttar Pradesh Cities

SC stays Allahabad HC's 'Lockdown' order

The Supreme Court on April 20 had stayed the Allahabad High Court order directing a lockdown in five UP cities. The top court's order came after Solicitor General Tushar Mehta—representing UP—submitted that the "blanket lockdown would create immense administrative difficulties."

The high court encroached upon the executive's domain in its order imposing a lockdown, the Yogi Adityanath-led government told SC. Though the high court's "intention" behind the order "is both laudable and salutary", it not only encroaches on the executive's domain but is also incapable of being executed. "…if executed, is capable of creating panic, fear and law and order situation in the State," the UP government said.

In a scathing order, the high court in its April 19 order, pulled up the Uttar Pradesh state government for poor management of the COVID crisis in the state. "One would only laugh at us that we have enough to spend on elections and very little to spend on public health," the high court had said.

Also Read: "Enough To Spend On Elections, Little On Public Health": Allahabad HC

Show Full Article
Next Story
Our website is made possible by displaying online advertisements to our visitors.
Please consider supporting us by disabling your ad blocker. Please reload after ad blocker is disabled.