DECLINING TO grant interim bail to a woman— an accused in a drug-related case who recently delivered a baby at Rajendra Hospital in Patiala— the Punjab and Haryana High Court on Thursday sought a report from the superintendent of Patiala Central Jail to ascertain whether the hospital or the jail would be suitable for the mother and child in the prevailing circumstances.
“This court cannot turn a blind eye and is, in fact, conscious of the fact that the applicant-petitioner has been booked in the present case under the NDPS Act, involving a huge recovery of contraband from her, which admittedly falls within the definition of the commercial quantity,” read the order passed by Justice Manjari Kaul Nehru, adding that the accused is not eligible for interim bail as per the criteria laid down by the high powered Committee.
However, the court also stressed that it cannot be oblivious to the fact that the newborn needs to be protected from COVID-19. Adjourning the matter for hearing on April 13, the court asked the Punjab government to also apprise it about the conditions prevailing in the accused woman’s native village, with regard to the coronavirus outbreak.
The accused had approached the high court seeking bail for three months in the FIR registered against her in July 2019. Rajpura Police had been recovered 80 injections (160ml) of Buprenorphine from her.
She delivered the baby in custody at the hospital on April 2 and sought bail, in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, to take care of her child.
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