SC stays Allahabad HC order on granting anticipatory bail on fear of death from COVID-19

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Representative Image
Representative Image

New Delhi [India], May 25 (ANI): The Supreme Court on Tuesday stayed the Allahabad High Court order in which anticipatory bail was granted on the grounds of apprehension of death on account of COVID-19 pandemic.

A bench of Justice Vineet Saran and Justice BR Gavai stayed the order after hearing the submissions of Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, who appeared for the state of Uttar Pradesh.

The bench observed that the Allahabad High Court judgment must not be cited as a precedent for grant of anticipatory bail and that the courts ought not to rely on the observations in the High Court judgment while considering pre-arrest bail applications.

The bench also appointed senior Advocate V Giri as an amicus curiae to assist the court on the larger issue of whether COVID-19 can be a ground for granting anticipatory bail.

The Solicitor General pressed for staying the observations in the High Court order, saying that the High Court observations are being widely cited to seek anticipatory bail in other cases.

In its order, the apex court said, "Issue notice returnable in the first week of July. In case the respondent does not appear on the next date, we will consider cancellation of the anticipatory bail as well as stay of the order. It is being pointed out that larger issues are involved in the case as sweeping directions have been given by the High Court regarding grant of bail in COVID circumstances."

"The directions concerned, they remain stayed. The courts may not consider the observations while considering bails and they shall consider the case on facts and circumstances", the bench added in the order.

The Uttar Pradesh government had moved the Supreme Court challenging the order of the Allahabad High Court of May where it had observed that apprehension of death on account of reasons like the present pandemic is a valid ground for grant of anticipatory bail.

The High Court order was passed by a single bench of Justice Siddharth while hearing an anticipatory bail application of Prateek Jain, apprehending death due to COVID-19 on account of a probable arrest. (ANI)

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