In wake of the prevailing situation triggered by COVID-19 outbreak, the Punjab and Haryana High Court Monday directed all subordinate courts in Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh to release all accused, who have already been granted bail, without enforcing the condition of surety bonds or bail bonds.
“Of course, a condition can be laid down that when the situation turns to be normal, the accused would be bound to furnish surety bonds/bail bonds,” reads an order passed by Justice Harnaresh Singh Gill, adding the District and Sessions Judges will issue appropriate directions to the police and jail authorities in all the three states.
However, the HC also made it clear that the accused persons should only be released after complying with the administrative guidelines issued in wake of the COVID-19 outbreak. An accused in two cases from Chandigarh and Mohali was granted regular bail on February 19 and February 23, respectively, by the lower courts but he continued to remain in prison as the bail orders were neither uploaded nor copies were provided to him, as per the petition heard by court on Monday.
The HC also ordered the District and Sessions Judges in the state of Punjab and Haryana and UT Chandigarh to provide the contact numbers and emails of the CJMs and duty magistrates or other judicial officers on duties, on their official websites, so that the compliance of the orders granting bail could be made.
“They are also directed to upload the orders passed by the courts in their respective Sessions Divisions, before or on the date of lockdown. However, while doing so, there shall be strict compliance of the precautionary measures as circulated by this Court in wake of Pandemic Covid-19,” reads the order.
Meanwhile, the High Court in an order passed on administrative side on Monday extended the applicability of the order pertaining to restricted functioning of courts in Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh till April 14.
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