6 Jun 2023 5:44 AM GMT
The Delhi High Court on Monday observed that the power to grant bail on medical grounds under PMLA is discretionary in nature and must be exercised in a judicious manner after recording satisfaction that necessary circumstances exist warranting exercise of such a discretion.“The liberty of a person who is accused or convicted of an offence can be curtailed according to procedure established...
The Delhi High Court on Monday observed that the power to grant bail on medical grounds under PMLA is discretionary in nature and must be exercised in a judicious manner after recording satisfaction that necessary circumstances exist warranting exercise of such a discretion.
“The liberty of a person who is accused or convicted of an offence can be curtailed according to procedure established by law. However, right to health is also recognized as an important facet of Article 21 of the Constitution. Merely because a person is an under trial or for that matter even a convict, lodged in jail, this facet of right to life cannot be curtailed. It remains an obligation of the state to provide adequate and effective medical treatment to every person lodged in jail, whether under trial or a convict,” Justice Vikas Mahajan observed.
The court was hearing a bail plea moved by Sanjay Jain, accused in a money laundering case. The regular bail plea was moved through his wife.
During the pendency of the regular bail, the wife filed an affidavit on May 22 praying for interim bail to Jain on medical and humanitarian grounds for three months, alleging that his health condition was precarious.
The affidavit submitted by the wife stated that the 57 year old was suffering from various pre-existing ailments like hypertension, depression and anxiety, diabetes and damaged mitral valve prolapse. It was also stated that his health condition had worsened in jail and he was not able to get proper treatment.
While refusing to enlarge Jain on interim bail, the court however directed the Director of AIIMS to immediately constitute a Medical Board of Doctors for evaluating Jain’s medical condition.
Perusing section 45 of PMLA, the court said that it is not every ailment that entitles an accused for grant of bail on medical grounds and that the expression used in the first proviso to the provision is that a person can be released on bail if he is “sick” or “infirm”.
“Plainly, the health of the petitioner has to be given primacy and it is his fundamental right to be given adequate and effective treatment whilst in jail. However, in case specialized or sustained treatment and care is necessary, having regard to the petitioner’s medical condition which is not possible whilst in jail, then the petitioner will be entitled to the benefit of interim bail in terms of the first proviso to Section 45(1) of the PMLA,” the court said.
Justice Mahajan noted that the appointments for the diagnostic procedures of Jain were scheduled almost after five months to one year, which showed that the Government Hospitals are overburdened and are not in a position to address the medical issues being faced by him whilst in jail, particularly on priority they deserve.
“However, there is no expert opinion on record suggesting as to how urgent is the need for the petitioner to undergo the CT Coronary angiography for his cardiac ailment and MRI LS spine and whether on account of delay in the said diagnostic procedures and consequent delay in treatment, the life of the petitioner could be at risk,” it said.
The court added: “In the absence of an opinion of the experts it is difficult for this Court to come to the conclusion as to whether it is a case for grant of interim bail on the medical grounds. The Court cannot assume the role of an expert and make assessment of its own as regard the medical condition of the petitioner on the basis of medical records placed on the Court file.”
The court directed the Jail Superintendent to furnish all medical records of Jain to the Medical Board of Doctors and also granted liberty to the wife to furnish relevant medical records to the Board, with a copy to the Special Counsel for ED.
The Jail Superintendent was also directed to ensure that Jain is presented before the Medical Board on June 07 at the time and place indicated by the Board.
“Upon evaluation of medical records and examination of the petitioner, the Medical Board shall furnish its report to this Court, on or before 10.06.2023,” the court ordered.
Senior Advocate Siddharth Aggarwal with Advocates Madhav Khurana, Stuti Gujral, Trisha Mittal, Shaurya Singh, Faisal Zia Ahmed and Harsh Yadav appeared for petitioner
Zoheb Hossain represented ED
Title: SANJAY JAIN (IN JC) v. ENFORCEMENT DIRECTORATE
Citation: 2023 LiveLaw (Del) 495
Click Here To Read Order