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COVID cannot be used to get bail in all cases of arrest: SC

The vacation bench of Justice Dinesh Maheshwari and Justice Aniruddha Bose were hearing an appeal against the April order of the Punjab and Haryana High Court denying anticipatory bail to the petitioner.

The advocate of the petitioner after keeping thier stand prayed the hon’ble court grant the petitioner bail as these are tough Covid times.

To this, the court replied “COVID comes in here also?! In a 3, 4, 5 case (sections 3, 4, 5 of the PITA, 1956)?! Where 15 customers were found in your premises? Corona is the panacea for everything?! And you are seeking anticipatory bail!”.

“Either you surrender immediately or we will direct the SSP to arrest you!”, he added. The bench of Supreme Court further observed that apprehension of COVID cannot be cited as a ground for bail in all cases, regardless of the nature and gravity of the offence.

The order also mentioned the nature of accusation and overall circumstances and  directed that “we are clearly of the view that the petitioner should immediately surrender before the Court concerned or the Investigating Officer latest by tomorrow, i.e. 22.05.2021. Ordered accordingly”.

On the same account, the Allahabad High Court  even stated that “established parameters for grant of anticipatory bail like the nature and gravity of accusation, etc have now lost  significance on account of present situation of the country”.

This order was challenged by SG Tushar Mehta in the Supreme Court submitting that the accused was a conman and had been granted anticipatory bail solely on the basis of COVID-19. The Bench agreed to hear the matter next week.

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