In view of the national lockdown imposed by the Central government, the Gujarat High Court has extended the life of all interim orders passed by it and by the courts subordinate to it, that expired subsequent to March 19, till June 15.
The bench has also extended all bail orders, regular or anticipatory, that were due to expire before April 30, by a month.
Further, all orders of eviction, demolition, etc. have also been put in abeyance.
The order has been passed by a division bench comprising of Chief Justice Vikram Nath and Justice Ashutosh J Shastri, while hearing a bunch of petitions, raising different concerns in wake of the pandemic. In one such petition, the court ordered,
The court also expressed concern regarding lodging of fresh arrestees in prisons, without first screening them for COVID-19 infection.
While stating that a blanket order restraining arrests could not be passed, the bench has directed the Department of Home, Government of Gujarat to ensure that before any accused is arrested and sent to jail, it is confirmed that he is not a suspect or infected with Corona Virus.
"We cannot issue a blanket order restraining the State / Police Department not to make any arrest in heinous crimes or all other non-heinous crimes, but at the same time, we are of the view that in case any arrest is made during this period and the accused is lodged in a particular jail without ascertaining whether such accused being taken into custody is clean or is a suspect or infected with the Corona Virus, lodging him into jail where already hundreds and thousands of under trial or convicts are lodged, it would be an imminent peril to all the inmates of the particular jail where any new entry suspected or infected of the Corona Virus is introduced," the bench remarked.
"Therefore, it would be appropriate to direct the Department of Home, Government of Gujarat to consider this aspect and issue necessary circular / instructions to all the Superintendents of Police / Commissioners of Police throughout the State to ensure that before any accused is arrested and sent to jail, it is confirmed that he is not a suspect or infected with Corona Virus. It is only after such confirmation that an accused be lodged in a particular jail, otherwise the same be avoided for the period of crisis."
That apart, the order also records in detail, the measures taken by the state government to ensure the welfare of persons affected by the disease, of health workers at the frontline and of poor and marginalized who are unable to go to work due to the lockdown.
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