HC grants bail to four accused of assaulting police, with a rider

They have to contribute ₹5,000 in State’s fight against COVID-19

The Bombay High Court on Friday directed four men to be released on bail by furnishing a bond of ₹10,000, with a stipulation that they must deposit ₹5,000 in the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund on their immediate release. The money will be a contribution towards the measures taken by the State for treatment of COVID-19 patients.

A single Bench of Justice Bharati Dangre was hearing a bail application filed by Gaus Mohammed Shaikh and three others.

On April 26, a police team was engaged in a road march in Govandi, to take an overall view of the restrictions imposed in the wake of COVID-19, and their implementation. A mob of about 25 to 30 attacked the police personnel when they insisted on removal of hawkers from the footpaths.

It is alleged that the mob pelted stones and bricks at the police team and their vehicles, resulting in damage to of one of the police vans. The FIR identified certain persons who instigated the mob, and one Nadeem Ismail Shaikh was named as the one who pelted stones. There were others who threw off their masks and assaulted the police team with iron roads. All of them were described to be between 22 and 25 years, with certain physical description.

Advocates for the applicants argued that they had been arrested only because they fell in the age category of 22-25 years and were residents of the said locality.

The Bench said no doubt, the incident was unfortunate in the present scenario, and the fact that several such occurrences were being reported in the entire country could not be lost sight of. “However, the arrest of the present applicants merely on the basis of an age description of the accused approximately between 22 and 25 years and no identification parade or any concrete evidence being collected by the investigating agency to establish that the applicants were the accused involved in assaulting the police personnel and damaging the police vehicle, makes them entitled to the benefit of doubt.”

The HC said though the applicants were entitled to the benefit of doubt, the alleged act of the policemen being attacked apparently while trying to enforce the coronavirus-induced lockdown needed to be tackled on a serious note.

“The applicants should be made to bear the consequences of assaulting the police team and causing interruption in discharge of their official duty. They, however, cannot be incarcerated in infinity since they were arrested on April 26 and have been behind bars almost for a period of more than one month, and this is a sufficient punishment for them to be responsible citizens,” the Bench said.

The HC said they are entitled to be released on bail with a stipulation that they must deposit ₹5,000 in the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund on their immediate release.

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Printable version | Jul 7, 2020 8:59:22 PM |

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