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The Karnataka High Court yesterday granted bail to 6 women out of 23 persons who allegedly formed an unlawful assembly and attacked the police during the ongoing Coronavirus lockdown in the state's Hubli district.
Interestingly, the Court denied grant of bail to 17 of the accused. Justice Sreeniwas Harish Kumar observed,
"If the petitioners violated those instructions and attacked the police, it has to be stated that their conduct is not commendable. Therefore, until the entire matter is investigated by the police, I do not think that the petitioners are entitled to bail. However, taking into consideration the fact that the petitioners 1 to 6 are women and have small children to be looked after, lenient view is taken only in respect of petitioners 1 to 6."
Karnataka High Court
In view of these observations, the Court partly allowed the applications filed by the 6 women, and granted them bail on a bond of Rs 50,000 each, along with one surety of the like amount. Other bail conditions included"
They shall not come out of their houses until the lockdown is lifted
They shall not tamper with evidence or threaten the witnesses.
They shall regularly adhere to the instructions issued by the Government pertainting to Covid-19.
Violation of any of these conditions will result in automatic cancellation of bail.
The 23 persons were accused of violating instructions issued by the government for effective control of COVID-19. They had allegedly formed an unlawful assembly and pelted stones/brick pieces against the police, when the latter was trying to disperse the mob.
As a result, the accused persons were charged for toffences punishable under Sections 143, 147, 148, 188, 271, 323, 324, 332, 353, 504 read with Section 149 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
Countering these allegations, Advocate F V Patil, appearing for the petitioners, stated that his clients had stepped outside their houses only for the purpose of offering prayers, and that the police had registered false complaints against them.
At this point, government pleader Divakar Maddur produced certificates showing that five police personnel who were injured due to stone pelting.
[Read order here]