Tamil Nadu

Pandemic can’t be grounds for granting bail, State tells HC

Aerial view of Madras High Court at Chennai. Photo: File

Aerial view of Madras High Court at Chennai. Photo: File  

Govt. appeals against relief granted to DMK MP by special court

The State government has contended before the Madras High Court that granting bail to an accused by taking the threat of a pandemic into consideration “is not in accordance with law”, and “will make way for a lawless situation in the State”.

The issue was raised in an appeal preferred by the State government, represented by the Central Crime Branch (CCB) of the Greater Chennai police, against the bail granted to DMK Rajya Sabha member R.S. Bharathi by a special court on June 1.

Justice N. Sathish Kumar is expected to hear the appeal this week. According to the prosecution, the Member of Parliament was booked on serious charges under the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act of 1989. He was accused of insulting members of the Scheduled Caste communities by claiming, at a private meeting conducted by the Kalaignar Reading Circle, that many of them had become judges only because of the alms provided to them by the Dravidian Movement.

Nevertheless, the special court had granted him bail without remanding him in judicial custody for even a single day, subject to the simple conditions that he must execute an own bond for ₹10,000, along with two sureties, and appear before the police as and when required, the government said.

Assailing the order, the CCB claimed that the sessions judge had erred in passing it. “The lower court failed to impose any stringent condition. Granting bail on the simple condition of own bond and two sureties is totally contrary to law,” it said.

The prosecution said that the threat of COVID-19 had weighed heavily on the mind of the presiding officer of the special court, after the petitioner had claimed that he was under home quarantine because two of his family members happened to be doctors.

The prosecution claimed that there was no evidence to prove that he was under home quarantine. The grounds for appeal, filed through State Public Prosecutor A. Natarajan, read: “Being a senior citizen or an advocate for over 40 years or a Rajya Sabha member will not permit a person to commit an offence. They must be the first person who should set an example to others in abiding by law.”

“The main ground for granting bail is the COVID-19 situation, and if that ground is taken into consideration for deciding legal issues, then all criminal cases filed during this pandemic will have the same effect,” the prosecution added.

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Printable version | Jul 4, 2020 11:49:57 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/pandemic-cant-be-grounds-for-granting-bail-state-tells-hc/article31828965.ece

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