The petitioner shall not indulge in any preaching activities'- the Madras High Court stipulated by way of condition while granting bail to a COVID-affected Islamic preacher, along with 11 Indonesian citizens, of engaging in propagating the Islamic religion in the state, consequently spreading the virus to the residents in the vicinity.
The petitioner, who was arrested and remanded to judicial custody on April 15 for the offences punishable under Sections 13 and 14 of Foreigners Act and Sections 269, 270 & 278 of IPC and Section 3 of Epidemic Diseases Act, Section 58 (4) of the Tamil Nadu Public Health Act and Section 51 (b) of National Disaster Management Act, had sought bail.
The Single Judge noted that on April 6, the Village Administrative Officer of Salem Town had lodged a complaint alleging that "the 11 co-accused belonged to Indonesia and they have come to India on tourist Visa on January 29". "They have stayed at Salem Rahamat Nagar Masjid from 13-03-2020 to 18-03-2020 and stayed at the Masjid within the Kitchipalayam Police station limit from 19-03-2020 to 22-03-2020 for propagating Islamic Religion. They are affected by Covid-19 and they have also spread the virus to the residents in the nearby locality", the order narrates the case of the prosecution.
The Public Prosecutor submitted that the petitioner had stayed along with the 11 co-accused for propagating the Islamic Religion in public. "They already knew about the Covid-19 virus which is spread all over the world. Even then, they stayed and were propagating the religion in public and as such they spread the Covid-19 all over the City of Salem", he urged, vehemently opposing the grant of bail to the petitioner.
"The petitioner is arrayed as 12th accused. Admittedly, A1 to A11 have come from Indonesia on tourist visa on 29.01.2020. Thereafter, they came to Salem and stayed in Rahamat Nagar Masjid along with the petitioner for propagating their religion to the Islamic people. Admittedly, the petitioner was also affected by Covid-19 and thereafter, he was treated at the Mohan Kumaramangal General Hospital, Salem from 22-03-2020. Now, he is fully recovered and remanded to judicial custody on 15-04-2020 in pursuant to the complaint lodged by the Village Administrative Officer", noted the High Court.
"As far as the petitioner is concerned, the offence under Sections 13 and 14 of Foreigners Act, has not been attracted and also insofar as the other offences are concerned as against the petitioner. Taking into consideration the nature of allegations against the petitioner in the FIR and also taking note of the fact that the petitioner is in judicial custody from 15.04.2020, this Court is inclined to grant interim bail to the petitioner, for a period of eight weeks", decided the Single Bench.
The enlargement on bail was made subject to the following conditions-
[a] the petitioner shall execute his own bond for a sum of Rs.10,000/- (Rupees ten thousand only) before the Superintendent of the concerned prison;
[b] the petitioner shall not leave the Chennai city, until further orders;
[c] the petitioner shall surrender his passport, if any, to the Superintendent of the concerned prison, before release.
[d] the petitioner shall inform about his residence in Chennai to the Commissioner, Corporation of Chennai and he shall be put in quarantine in the given residential address by the petitioner.
[e] the petitioner shall not indulge in any preaching activities.
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