Punjab and Haryana High Court today granted interim bail for three months in view of Covid-19 outbreak, to a woman prisoner who delivered a baby while being in custody, arrested under NDPS Act.
On the Previous hearing, the Court had directed Jail Superintendent to furnish a report after taking necessary advice and opinion from Civil Surgeon concerned/S.M.O./Jail Doctor as to ascertain which would be safer place for her and her baby, Jail or hospital where she was admitted.
Js. Arvind Singh Sangwan stated today that the applicant is a young lady who has no previous history of involvement in any such case. She has given birth to child on 01.04.2020 and as per report of Civil Surgeon, Patiala, she can be kept in a creche along with two inmates who can help her. Perusal of this report would show that no inmate is a medical expert to take care of the mother and child.
Petitioner is in judicial custody for more than 8 months and investigation is complete and her custodial investigation is not required anymore. Even the charges stand framed on 20.12.2019 and till date, no prosecution witness has been examined, which shows that in the present prevailing condition in the country, the prosecution witnesses may not be examined for another couple of months or so.
Petitioner Counsel relied upon the judgment by Supreme Court in Mohan Lal vs. State of Punjab, which held that where complainant and the Investigating Officer are same person, it does not amount to a fair investigation. This judgment had been interpreted by
Supreme Court in Varinder Kumar vs. State of Himachal Pradesh, wherein it was held that the judgment in Mohan Lal’s case has a prospective application. The instant FIR was registered on 10.07.2019, i.e. much after the pronouncement of judgment by Hon’ble Supreme Court in Mohan Lal’s case (supra) and, thus, the complainant and the Investigating Officer are the same person in this case.
Judge said that perusal of FIR shows that complainant himself conducted entire investigation. The applicant-petitioner was apprehended at about 8.00 AM and after completing the entire investigation, which includes preparation of sample parcels and other documents and memos, an information in writing was sent to the police station at 9.30 AM i.e. after 1 ½ hours and no efforts were made to join a second investigating officer. Even as per the prosecution version, when the second investigating officer SI Nirvair Singh came and conducted the personal search of the applicant-petitioner through Lady Constable Meenakshi, nothing was recovered.
Therefore, the Court found sufficient reasons to believe that Petitioner is entitled to get the concession of interim bail. Jail Superintendent was ordered in view of restricted working on account of Covid-19 to release the petitioner today itself after obtaining undertaking from blood relations of petitioner that she will appear in Court within 14 days to furnish surety bonds.