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"No differential treatment for patients": Supreme Court denies interim bail to COVID positive Anti-Sikh Riots co-convict Mahender Yadav

The Court stated that no differential treatment could be meted out to a patient just because he was under detention.

Debayan Roy

The Supreme Court today declined to entertain an interim bail application filed by former MLA and co-convict in the anti-Sikh riots case Mahender Yadav, who has contracted COVID-19.

A two-judge Vacation Bench of of Justices Indira Banerjee and BR Gavai refused the request for relatives to meet Yadav

The petitioner, represented by Senior Advocate R Basant, stated that even in the ICU, he was under detention and that police constables guard his ward.

It was submitted that his relatives were denied the option to meet him. This was stated as a ground in the plea for his release on interim bail. Basant pleaded,

"He has a knee problem, stomach infection along with COVID-19. He is in the hospital now. Please consider the bail plea for the sake of his relatives. This is a very unfortunate case. In the hospital too he is in custody. Two constables are posted outside his ward."

However, Justice Banerjee stated that courts cannot do anything in this case, as the protocol suggests COVID-19 patients are not allowed to interact with anyone.

While dismissing the petition, the Court stated that "no differential treatment can be meted out to a patient just because he is under detention". The Court also noted in its order,

"Additional Solicitor General KM Nataraj states that all patients are given equal treatment and no distinction can be meted out."

Yadav had argued that interim bail at this stage was needed so that his family members could take care of him, especially since he was suffering from various ailments.

However, ASG Nataraj argued that granting bail in this case "would set a precedent."

In 2013, Yadav and ex-MLA Kishan Khokkar, were found guilty of only rioting and were awarded three years' imprisonment in the 1984 anti-Sikh Riots case.

Later, in December 2018, Yadav, former Congress leader Sajjan Kumar and former MLA Kishan Khokhar surrendered at Mandoli jail.

Yadav has served an exact of one year and five months in prison. Currently, he is admitted in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at Delhi's Lok Nayak Hospital.

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