Bombay High Court grants ad-interim relief to a Priest charged for violating the Rules of lockdown

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The village of Wagdari, Maharashtra organised a festival for Lord Parmeshwar on 29th March 2020. The applicable Section is that of Section 144 of CrPC due to the onset of corona-virus in the state. Thus, the police asked the villagers not to gather at the temple.

The villagers violated the rules of Lockdown by organising the procession. The people opposed the police and pelted stones on them when they tried to stop them. The applicant, along with 144 other people, was charged for disobeying the rules of lock-down. They were also held liable for obstructing the working of public authorities. Due to the apprehension of arrest, the applicant (priest of a temple) filed an application for seeking anticipatory bail.

Contentions 

Mr. Vikrant Phatate (counsel) on behalf of the applicant contended that the Panch Committee of the village called him for performing pooja, where he simply obliged with the request. Hence, he has strongly requested for the anticipatory bail. 

Held

After looking into the facts and circumstances of this case, the Court stated that the applicant deserves an ad-interim relief because there is no prima-facie evidence to suggest that he had pelted stones on police or quarrelled with the police, while also considering his age (65 years). Thus the court granted relief to the appellant. The court asked the applicant to deposit a bond of Rs. 15,000 as security. Along with that, to deposit Rs. 10,000 towards the CM Relief fund within eight weeks.


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