Published On: Tue, May 25th, 2021
Top News | ByIANS

SC stays Allahabad HC’s ‘sweeping directions’ for pre-arrest bail on Covid fears

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday stayed the Allahabad High Court’s directions, issued while granting anticipatory bail to an accused, that apprehension of death due to Covid-19 is valid for granting such relief.

We understand, you are aggrieved with the sweeping directions..we will issue notice

A bench of Justices Vineet Saran and BR Gavai, holding that the High Court had passed “sweeping directions” in the matter, said: “We direct the same to be stayed and the courts shall not consider the directions to grant anticipatory bail to accused in other cases.” Courts should, instead, consider merits of each case for anticipatory bail, it said.

The top court was hearing an appeal filed by the Uttar Pradesh government challenging the High Court’s May 10 order. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the Uttar Pradesh government, said the accused who was granted anticipatory bail till January 2022, has 130 cases pending against him. He added that the High Court order was relied on in many other states in matters connected with anticipatory bail.

The bench told Mehta: “We understand, you are aggrieved with the sweeping directions..we will issue notice.”

The top court sought reply from the accused Prateek Jain and stressed, if he does not appear on the next date, it may consider cancelling his bail, and posted the matter for hearing in first week of July.

The top court also appointed senior advocate V. Giri as amicus curiae in the matter to assist it on deciding whether Covid can be considered a ground for grant of anticipatory bail.

Citing top court’s direction to decongest jails amid the pandemic, the High Court had said: “The observations and directions of the apex court show concern about the overcrowding of jails, and in case this court, ignoring the same, passes an order which will result in overcrowding of jails again, it would be quite paradoxical.”

Imposing conditions on the accused, it had directed that the petitioner shall not obstruct or hamper police investigation and shall not leave the country without prior permission from the trial court concerned.

The High Court said that in case of his arrest, the petitioner shall be enlarged on anticipatory bail for the limited period till January 3, 2022.

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