The Allahabad High Court on Tuesday allowed the regular bail application filed by UP Congress Chief Ajay Kumar Lallu, who has been in jail since May 21, allegedly for providing false information in the list of buses that were sent to ferry migrant workers home.
The High Court noted that given the nature of offences alleged in the present case, a case for grant of bail is made out.
"It is surprising to note that the accused applicant is already involved in a number of cases registered against him ever since the year 2000 but looking to the ingredients of offences alleged against him in the present case, a case for grant of bail is made out and more particularly when Covid-19 is constantly threatening human life even in safer zones, being it a contagious disease," the bench of Justice Attau Rahman Masoodi observed.
A FIR was lodged against Lallu and personal secretary of Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, Sandeep Singh, in the Hazratganj Police station on May 9, for providing false information in the list of buses that were sent to ferry migrant workers home.
It is alleged that the migrants' were ferried across the states in auto-rickshaws, ambulances, trucks, etc. that find no mention in the list. Moreover, many buses provided by the party lacked a requisite fitness certificate or/ and a valid insurance.
The FIR further alleges that the Congress leaders did not obtain inter-state movement passes, in gross violation of the guidelines issued by the Union Home Ministry.
The court observed that even though the Prime Minister and the respective Chief Ministers solicited monetary support from public to control the outbreak of pandemic, there was no appeal for any other service in the nature of transport services, etc.
Thus, the court observed, there was no occasion for any voluntary organisation or a political organisation to have offered transport services or any other service not solicited by the Prime Minister or Chief Ministers of the State.
However, refraining itself from making any "estimate of political gain or loss either way" the bench observed that it is the combined duty of the executive and the opposition, to ensure good governance
"It is not for this Court to examine whether such a decision in the wisdom of the government was good or bad but what is disturbing is that the government and a political party having some representation in the State of Uttar Pradesh are at loggerheads on an issue which has no legal sanctity.
… the conduct rules refrain the Executive and its public servants from associating with any political party or association while discharging public duties. It is the duty of Executive to ensure good governance and likewise it is an equal duty of the political parties in opposition to keep the governance on its toes."
The court said that the services, which ought to have reached to the sufferers directly rather to the government, for which there was no appeal and in that event, any defect in service was open to be viewed as per the procedure prescribed under law.
"It is not the role of justice delivery system to applaud the policy decisions of the government in place or to give an impetus to any criticism which some opposition political movement propagates to be a wiser course on an issue relating to public by large," Justice Masoodi said.
He opined that judiciary, as an organ of the sovereign State, acts as a "neutral arbiter".
"The Courts of law must maintain a distance from making any estimate of political gain or loss either way but the government as well as opposition, both are under a bounden duty to deliver more solutions to the public grievances than conflicts."
The applicant was represented by Abhishek Manu Singhvi, Senior Counsel, assisted by Satendra Kumar Singh, and the State by Anurag Verma, AGA.
Last week, the High Court had sought the UP Government's reply in the anticipatory bail application preferred by Sandeep Singh. The Court had also summoned the Case Diary and fixed the matter for hearing on June 17.
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