Observing that assaulting a public servant on Covid-19 lockdown duty was a serious offence, the Bombay High Court rejected pre-arrest bail to a man booked by Goregaon police in June for abusing and assaulting a police official on duty, who asked him to wear mask. However, the court granted protection from arrest to the man’s 70-year-old father in view of his old age and much lesser role in the alleged crime.
A single judge bench of Justice Sarang V Kotwal passed an order on pre-arrest bail applications filed by Khawaja Malang Qureshi and his father Malang Moiddin Qureshi through advocate Vijendra Kumar Rai.
Rai submitted that CCTV footage was available and none of his clients were seen assaulting a police official and further said Khawaja was not present at the spot and an unknown person assaulted the official. He said Malang came later and was trying to disperse the mob and was in fact helping the police. The applicants also denied the existence of any shop and allegations of sale of grocery articles from residential premises. The applicants claimed statements of witnesses were manipulated and sought pre-arrest bail.
After hearing submissions and material on record, the court accepted police’s arguments on identification of applicants and denied claims of Khwaja not being present at the spot when the incident took place.
Maintaining that applicant son did not deserve protection considering the gravity of the crime, the bench observed, “The offence is serious. A public servant carrying out his duty in the interest of society was assaulted and this fact cannot be tolerated.”
“However, considering the much lesser role attributed to applicant Malang and also considering his advanced age of 70 years, I am inclined to grant protection only to him,” Justice Kotwal added.
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