Apprehension Of Death On Account Of Covid19 Pandemic Is A Valid Ground For Grant Of Anticipatory Bail: Allahabad High Court
Case: Prateek Jain v. State of UP & Ors.
Coram: Justice Siddharth
Case No: CRIMINAL MISC ANTICIPATORY BAIL APPLICATION U/S 438 CR.P.C. No. – 4002 of 2021
Court Observation: “The law is a dynamic concept and it is required to be interpreted as per the requirements of time. With the change in the requirements of time, the interpretation and application of law is required to be adopted with change. The law of anticipatory bail is founded only on the apprehension of arrest. The apprehension may be of pre-recording or post-recording stage of the FIR. However, the pre-requisite condition of apprehension of arrest is survival of the accused,”
“Only when the accused would be protected from apprehension of death the apprehension of his arrest would arise. Article 21 of the Constitution of India provides for protection of life and personal liberty of every citizen of the country. The protection of life is more important than the protection of personal liberty of a citizen. Unless the right to life is protected the right to personal liberty would be of no consequence.”
“The allegations may be serious against an accused but the presumption of innocence in his favour cannot be dispelled only on the basis of the allegation,”
“It is clear that the right to life is more precious and sacrosanct than the right to personal liberty which is sought to be protected by way of grant of anticipatory bail to an accused by the Court. If the right to life is not protected and permitted to be violated or imperiled, the right to personal liberty, even if protected by the Court, would be of no avail. If an accused dies on account of the reasons beyond his control when he could have been protected from death by the Court, the grant or refusal of anticipatory bail to him would be an exercise in futility,”
“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,”
“The experts are of the view that the third wave is likely to come in the month of September, 2021 and it is uncertain when the normal functioning of the Court would be restored. In such uncertain times it would be against the requirement of Article 14 of the constitution of India, which provides equality before law and equal protection of law, to leave an accused unprotected from arrest and suffer the consequences of being infected with novel corona virus.
The conventional and well settled grounds for grant of anticipatory bail to an accused implicated for alleged commission of non-bailable offence can be considered after the normal conditions in the society and the courts are restored then the anticipatory bail application of the accused persons shall be considered on ordinary parameters like in ordinary times,”