The Patna HC granted bail on the condition that the applicant pays ₹15,000 towards the PM CARES Fund. This fund has been set up for relief activities from the Novel Coronavirus.
Facts of the Case
In the stated case, an informant along with the police force reached a very old house in a village. They searched the house and caught someone attempting to flee from the scene. On interrogation, the apprehended person (herein, petitioner) disclosed that the house belonged to someone else. He was undertaking business of producing wine along with other accused persons.
On searching the house, the informant recovered 382.48 litres of foreign wine. Subsequently, on searching the petitioner’s shop, a total of 49.89 litres of foreign wine was also recovered.
Submissions by the Parties
The counsel submitted that there has been no recovery from the petitioner’s possessions. Litres of foreign wine have been recovered from the house and the shop. Correspondingly, the counsel submitted that the house in question did not belong to the petitioner. In addition to this, he contended that the petitioner had no criminal record and is innocent. In light of the case proceedings, he has been in jail custody since 22.01.2020. Thus, he sought bail for the case, citing offences under Sections 30(a) and 38(I) of the Bihar prohibition Excise Act. 2016.
On the other hand, the learned APP for the state opposed the bail petition.
Justice Anjali K. Sharan granted bail to the applicant, provided that he furnishes a bond of ₹25,000 with 2 sureties. In addition to this, they ordered the bail applicant to donate ₹15,000 towards the PM CARES Fund.
“The bail bond of the petitioner will be accepted on showing receipt of the deposit of ₹15,000 in the PM Cares fund.”
About the PM CARES Fund
The PM Cares Fund is an initiative of PM Narendra Modi. The funds that it collects go towards COVID-19 relief.
Recently, the Bombay HC issued a notice urging the government to disclose the amount that the fund collects. They also prayed for the CAG report. Additionally, they requested to speed up the appointment process of 3 members to the Fund’s Trust Board. The Centre has to file an affidavit in reply. Accordingly, the Court will take up the plea in about two weeks.
Many Courts in India have considered the PM CARES Fund while delivering judgments. After the creation of the fund, numerous Courts directed donations to the same as a condition for grant of bail. The Jharkhand HC and Madhya Pradesh HC have recently passed this condition as a means to get bail.
Recently, a lawyer filed an RTI amid concerns over the transparency of this fund. He received a reply stating that the Fund does not come under the scope of public authority under the RTI Act.
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