The Punjab & Haryana High court on Wednesday (19th August) denied the benefit of pre-arrest bail to a lady, who had locked certain staff of medical and the para-medical team inside a room and thereafter removed the body of 'XXXX' from the mortuary.
The bench of Justice Tejinder Singh Dhindsa was hearing the Anticipatory Bail application of one Sandeep Kaur in case FIR No.326, dated 25.06.2020, under Sections 297, 454, 353, 186, 342, 270, 120-B & 188 IPC, Section 4 of the Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act, 1984 and Section 51 of the Disaster Management Act, 2005, registered at Police Station City Barnala.
Initially, it was argued by the counsel for the petitioner that the petitioner is not related to the person whose body was taken away from the mortuary and that the FIR had been lodged against unknown and unrelated persons.
However, after that, the counsel for the petitioner himself submitted before the court that 'XXXX', whose body was removed from the mortuary, is the first cousin of the petitioner.
On the last date, the State counsel was directed to file reply as regards the link evidence on the basis of which the present petitioner was being arrayed as an accused in this case.
Eventually, a reply on behalf of the State was received through e-mail. The court noted that as per the reply, a video clip of the occurrence was recorded and in which the present petitioner stands duly identified.
The observation of the Court
Most importantly, the court observed,
"Under the prevalent Covid-19 pandemic for any person to behave in such an irresponsible manner needs to be deprecated in strong terms. The medical and para-medical staffs in the State of Punjab as also across the country are working round the clock to fight the pandemic."
The court also remarked,
"There is a certain protocol to be observed regarding the conduct of 'COVID test' and in the eventuality of there being a 'COVID' death; certain precautionary measures have to be followed."
Further, as per the allegations, the bench noted that the present petitioner was part of a group which removed a body from the mortuary and who was none other than her cousin.
The court also made an observation that as per the Investigating Agency, presence of the petitioner while removing the body stands recorded in CCTV footage.
Under such circumstances, the prayer of the petitioner seeking concession of pre-arrest bail was not accepted by the High Court.
It may be noted that recently the Tripura High Court, while directing the Government to restore the confidence of the Doctors and para-medical staff and all concerned who are sacrificing their lives to fight against the pandemic, had observed that "Doctors are the 'first line defence of the country' in the fight against Coronavirus."
Justice Arindam Lodh observed thus while considering an anticipatory bail plea filed by a person accused of being part of a protest by a group of patients against a doctor. The judge directed the Investigating Officer to record the statement of the doctor and to conduct a Test Identification Parade.
Case Title: Sandeep Kaur v. State of Punjab
Case No.: CRM-M-22567-2020 (O&M)
Quorum: Justice Tejinder Singh Dhindsa
Appearance: Advocate Munish Raj Chaudhary (for the Petitioner); Additional Advocate General A.S. Sandhu, (for the respondent-State)
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