Madras High Court Grants Bail to Persons Accused of Obstructing Burial of the Body of COVID-19 Affected Doctor

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In Tamil Vendhan & Ors. v. The State, the Madras High Court on 18.05.2020 allowed the bail applications of 11 accused persons who obstructed the burial ceremony of a doctor, who passed away in a heart attack after contracting the COVID-19 infection.

Brief Facts of the Case

The case of the prosecution is that one Dr. Simon suffered from heart and kidney failure along with the corona virus. On 19.02.2020, he took his last breath. The Corporation officials and the Revenue officials took the body of the doctor by ambulance to Kilpauk Cemetery for burial. Then the petitioners and other local residents gathered and obstructed the burial in Kilpauk Cemetery. Though the Government officials and the police officials informed that they took necessary precautions from COVID-19, they protested the burial. The petitioners attacked the ambulance and forced the Government officials to take the body of Dr. Simon to another burial ground for burial.

Arguments of the Petitioner

The contention of the learned Counsel for the petitioners is that the petitioners are local residents of the burial ground. They are not educated and worldly wise. They came to know from news that ambulance would take the dead body of a person to the Kilpauk Cemetery. The person was suffering from Corona virus. The Government officials took his body for burial without taking any precautions. They apprehended that the deadly virus would affect the local residents. The learned counsel presented that the petitioners and other residents asked for the clarification. But the Government officials took the body to the resident without giving them any explanation.

Thereafter, the police picked up several residents and took them to the police station. The learned counsel further submitted that the petitioners are suffering from unnecessary incarceration and he seeks for granting bail to the petitioners.

Arguments of the Respondent

The learned Additional Public Prosecutor submitted that the petitioners/ accused did not allow the officials to discharge their duties. The petitioners also prevented to bury the body of Dr.Simon at the Kilpauk Cemetery.

The residents forced them to take the body to another cemetery for burial. Though the Government officials explained about the precautions, the petitioners obstructed them. The learned Assistant Public Prosecutor also presented that CCTV footages and the local people verified the offensive acts of the petitioners. He opposed for granting bail to the petitioners.

Observation of the Court 

The Court observed that the petitioners were “scared by the rumours” about the deadly virus. According to the submission of learned counsel the petitioners are not educated and worldly wise. The authorities should inform the residents in advance. The authority should have convinced them about the procedure of burial and the precautions so that the local residents would not act in such violent manner. 

Order of the Court 

Taking into consideration the nature of allegations against the Petitioners, the Court ordered to grant bail to the petitioners in the following conditions:

  • The petitioners should execute their own bond for a sum of Rs.10,000/- each before the Superintendent of the concerned prison;
  • The petitioners should execute two sureties for a sum of Rs.10,000/- each before the concerned Magistrate on or before 01.07.2020;
  • The sureties should affix their photographs and Left Thumb Impression in the surety bond and the learned Magistrate may take a copy of their Aadhar card or Bank pass Book to ensure their identity;
  • The petitioners should not commit any offences of similar nature;
  • The petitioner should not abscond either during investigation or trial;
  • The petitioner should not tamper with evidence or witness either during investigation or trial;
  • On breach of any of the aforesaid conditions, the learned Magistrate/Trial Court may take appropriate action against the petitioners.

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