The bench further noted, “Failure to do so would result in recalling of the said order releasing them on bail.”
While granting bail to four accused arrested for allegedly attacking a police team on Covid-19 duty in Govandi’s Shivaji Nagar area, the Bombay High Court directed them to furnish a personal bond of Rs. 10,000 each and deposit ‘as a punishment to be responsible citizens’ Rs. 5,000 each to the Chief Minister’s Fund (CM Fund) used for measures taken by the state government to control the coronavirus outbreak.
A single-judge bench of Justice Bharati Dangre passed the order through video conference on Friday after hearing the bail pleas of Gaus Mohammed Shaikh and three other applicants booked by Shivaji Nagar Police under penal provisions, including attempt to murder and for damaging public property and for disobeying orders by Police under Maharashtra Police Act.
A mob of around 30 people had allegedly attacked a police patrolling team on Covid-19 duty and pelted their vehicle with stones at Shivaji Nagar area in Govandi in April this year, according to police. The crowd reportedly tried to take off a police inspector’s mask and attacked another officer with an iron rod, the police said.
The prosecution said that on April 26, when a team of police officers was taking stock of implementation of lockdown measures in Govandi, a mob of about 25 to 30 persons aggressively attacked police personnel as they insisted on removal of hawkers squatted on footpaths with their wares. The mob vandalised with the aim of impairing police personnel from discharging their duty, prosecution submitted.
Appearing for the police, advocate H J Dedhia alleged that some persons in the mob pelted stones and bricks on the police personnel and their vehicles, resulting in destruction of one of the police vans. He argued, “Entire conduct of the mob was shameful and they attempted to assault the police personnel engaged in official duty and who are rather putting their life at risk in the situation of Covid-19 pandemic to keep citizens safe and free of Covid-19.”
Dedhia also informed the court that two of the applicants had tested positive for Covid-19 and tested negative after appropriate medical treatment.
The accused applicants through their advocates Jigar Agarwal and Shaikh Shafi Ahmed argued that they had been arrested only because they fall in the age category of 22-25 years and are residents of the locality where the incident happened.
After hearing submissions, Justice Dangre observed, “No doubt, the incident is unfortunate in the present scenario and the fact that several such incidences and occurrences are being reported in the entire country cannot be lost sight of.”
Moreover, the court said that the applicants, despite being entitled for benefit of doubt in view of lack of identification, should be made to bear consequences.
“Though the applicants are entitled for the benefit of doubt, alleged act policemen being attacked apparently while trying to enforce the corona virus induced lock-down need 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.”
Observing this, the court granted bail to the applicants on furnishing personal bond of Rs. 10,000 with sureties. Justice Dangre said they are entitled to be released on bail if they deposit Rs. 5,000 each to the CM fund on their immediate release. The bench further noted, “Failure to do so would result in recalling of the said order releasing them on bail.”
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