Days after a West Tripura district health surveillance officer was allegedly harassed and spat at by patients at a Covid care centre, an Additional Government Advocate, who is also a patient at the centre, Thursday sought anticipatory bail even though he was not named in an FIR filed on the subject.
A single bench of the High Court of Tripura headed by Justice Arindam Lodh heard his petition and withheld full hearing till August 5. The Court asked the prosecution to submit updated case diary on the next hearing and observed that mere apprehension of arrest doesn’t attract ingredients of section 438 of the CrPC to grant anticipatory bail. The investigation agency was ordered to record statement from the victim and identify the offenders in 24 hours.
A complaint was filed on behalf of Tripura Health Services Director with New Capital Complex police station on July 27 in connection with the alleged assault of a health care worker who was harassed and spat at by patients at the Covid centre when she went there to admit more patients
Four COVID patients suspected to be involved in the case were later shifted to an institutional quarantine center but nobody has been arrested.
In the plea filed by the COVID patient, the petitioner sought to be released on anticipatory bail since he is “seriously apprehending” arrest in connection with the case.
During its hearing today, the High Court observed that doctors, paramedics, their associates and police personnel are ‘first line of defense of the country’ against coronavirus pandemic and said it found the complaint of Health Director ‘serious’.
But on the anticipatory bail plea, the Court said it didn’t find any specific accusation against the petitioner.
The High Court has observed that any offense against sentiment, safety and security of doctors, would not be tolerated for a single moment and would be punished as per law and any such offense is not only detrimental to the sentiment safety and security of the doctors, but also detrimental to the interest of the entire society the nation and the state.
“They had created serious obstacles in treating the COVID patients, who are the mothers of the new born babies and suffering from COVID infections and thus prevented the lady doctor and her staffs to discharge their official duties smoothly and freely”, the judge noted in his order.
In the FIR filed by the state health department, the accused persons were charged with section 3 of Tripura Medical Service and Protection of Property Damage Act, Section 353 and 323 of the Indian Penal Code and section 03 of the Epidemic Diseases Act.
On the issue, Advocate General Arun Kanti Bhowmik said, “I can’t comment on the subject since it is currently sub-judice. This is an allegation and it is subject to trial. However, if anyone has assaulted a doctor and her staff, it is a very grave offense and I am sure proper punishment as per law will be awarded to them”.
He didn’t comment on allegations of involvement of a government counsel in the case.
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