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Background

  • The single judge bench of Justice Pankaj Bhandari was hearing an anticipatory bail application filed for offences u/s 457 and 354 of the Indian Penal Code r/w section 65 of the I.T. Act which states that the maximum sentence may extend up to 3 years after the conviction.
  • After the arrest the petitioner moved the bail petition to the session’s court. But on the dismissal, moved to the High Court.
  • The Rajasthan High Court on Monday, May 17th, restrained the police from arresting the accused charged with offences carrying up to 3 years jail term till July 17th, 2021.
  • According to Justice Bhandari, in light of the surging covid 19 cases, it would be counterproductive owing to risk of increase in covid 19 cases in jail.

Supreme Court’s Landmark Order

  • The Apex Court last year on May 8, 2020 passed a few directions to decongest the prisons amid the surging Covid 19 cases in the prisons.
  • The Court also directed the immediate release of all prisoners as per the order dated 23rd March, 2020 under apposite conditions. In view of this order 90% of the prisoners were released either on interim bail or parole for a period of 90 days.
  • The States were requested to provide with the cell occupancy data and all the decisions of the High-Powered committee on the website.
  • As per guidelines laid down by the Hon’ble Court in Arnesh Kumar v/s State of Bihar, the court directed that the authorities shall not arrest any person in contravention of the same.

Orders passed by the Rajasthan HC

  • The bench ordered the Director General of Police to issue guidelines to all the officers in the State of Rajasthan to not make an arrest in case the accused person is charged under an offence where the maximum sentence may extend up to three years and the offence is triable by first class Magistrate.
  • The Hon’ble Court also noted that it was aware of the fact that in cases of cognizable and non-cognizable offences, the police had a right to make arrests. But keeping in mind the grave condition of the pandemic and the rising covid 19 cases, lockdown and various guidelines issued by the State it asked whether the police be directed to not arrest the accused in cases where the maximum sentence may extend up to 3 years?
  • This question received an affirmative reply from the Additional Advocate General.

Do you think it is advisable to restrain the police from arresting the accused?

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