The Delhi High Court Wednesday granted bail to a 42-year-old man who was arrested for allegedly molesting and assaulting two women resident doctors of Safdarjung Hospital while accusing them of spreading COVID-19 in South Delhi’s Gautam Nagar.
Even as it granted bail, the High Court observed that “the country is passing through a very difficult phase and the doctors are rendering yeomen service to the nation”.
Justice Rajnish Bhatnagar further said: “No useful purpose would be served by keeping the petitioner in judicial custody and overcrowding Tihar Jail,” adding that accused Sanjeev Sharma “being an educated man as stated by the counsel for the petitioner that he is an interior designer by profession should have been respectful to the doctors rather than abusing and threatening them”.
Sharma was granted bail on a personal bond of Rs 20,000 with a surety of the same amount.
Earlier, the Additional Sessions Judge (ASJ) had cancelled the bail plea of the accused on April 9.
“As far as the investigation is concerned, the statements under section 164 CrPC have been recorded and statement of one eyewitness (the fruit seller) has also been recorded… However, Sharma in the instant case is in judicial custody since April 10, 2020,” it observed.
A 29-year-old junior resident (casualty) at Safdarjung Hospital and her younger sister — also a doctor — were allegedly assaulted on April 8 night when they were buying fruits and groceries outside their residence.
Sharma, an interior designer, was arrested the next day. An FIR at Hauz Khas police station under sections 354 (molestation), 509 (outraging the modesty of women), 323 (causing hurt) and 341 (wrongful restraint) of the IPC was registered against him.
According to the FIR, Sharma began talking about social distancing and remarked that the doctors like the two women were spreading infection in residential areas.
The High Court was told that the woman complainant then told the accused that “she knew the importance of social distancing and tried to reason out with him but the latter got abusive and threatened that he would get a case registered against them”.
It is alleged that when the complainant was about to leave the spot, the accused assaulted them and touched them inappropriately.
The accused moved the High Court seeking quashing and setting aside of a trial court’s order remanding him to custody and dismissing his bail application in the case.
The accused through his advocate, Tanmaya Mehta, sought bail on the ground that he has been falsely implicated and he had only protested against the complainant and her sister for not maintaining social distancing following which the women became aggressive,
Mehta argued that “no useful purpose would be served by keeping him in judicial custody and there is all likelihood of petitioner getting infected while in judicial custody.”
Additional Public Prosecutor Ashish Dutta, appearing for the police, strongly opposed the bail application contending that the allegations against Sharma are grave and serious in nature,
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