The Court was hearing an appeal by Uttar Pradesh against the High Court order which held that the State lacks preparation to tackle the COVID-19 crisis, and hence a person arrested is at risk of contracting the virus.
The Supreme Court on Tuesday stayed an Allahabad High Court order holding that apprehension of death due to COVID-19 may be a basis for granting an accused anticipatory bail (State of UP v. Prateek Jain).
The Supreme Court was hearing an appeal by the Uttar Pradesh government against a recent Allahabad High Court order holding that the state lacked the required planning and resources to deal with the COVID-19 crisis, and that anyone arrested could contract the virus.Although the Supreme Court upheld the High Court's legal findings, it did not overturn the accused's bail.
"As far as observations are concerned it remains stayed and courts shall not consider the said directions (of the High Court) while granting anticipatory bail and must consider merits of each case while deciding the same," the Court ordered.
Prateek Jain, who was convicted under Sections 420, 467, 468, 471, 506, and 406 of the Indian Penal Code, filed an anticipatory bail application before the High Court, which was granted.
"Apprehension of an accused being infected with novel corona virus before and after his arrest and the possibility of his spreading the same while coming into contact with the police, Court and jail personnel or vice-versa can be considered to be a valid ground for grant of anticipatory bail to an accused," the High Court had ruled.
The High Court had added that exceptional times necessitate extraordinary remedies, and the law should be read in a way that is in tune with the desperate times.