Apprehension of death due to COVID a valid ground for Anticipatory Bail

ground for anticipatory bail 

The State of Uttar Pradesh had moved the Supreme Court challenging the order of the Allahabad High Court wherein anticipatory bail was granted on the ground of apprehension of death on account of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Court while passing such order stated that the inadequate medical facilities in the State may leave the accused person unprotected from the threat to his life on account of arrest as per the normal procedure applicable in normal times.

It opined that extraordinary times require extraordinary remedies and the law should be interpreted likewise. It was further observed that on account of present situation in the country, the established parameters for grant of anticipatory bail have now lost significance.

The Single Judge bench observed and further stated that Article 21 of the Constitution provides for protection of life and personal liberty of every citizen and in complying with the procedures of Cr.P.C. or any special act, the accused will definitely come under contact with many individuals.

He will be arrested by police, confined in lock-up, produced before the Magistrate and if his bail application is not granted on the dot, he will be sent to jail for an undetermined period till his bail is granted by the Higher Court. It was also emphasized that it is only when the accused would be alive he would be subjected to the normal procedure of law of arrest, bail and trial.

Supreme Court stayed the order of Allahabad High Court and ordered that this judgment should not be cited as a precedent for grant of anticipatory bail and that the Courts shall not rely on the observations in the High Court judgment while considering pre-arrest bail applications. The bench also appointed Senior Advocate V Giri as amicus curiae to assist the Court on the larger issue whether COVID can be a ground for granting anticipatory bail.

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