Amid alarming increase of Covid-19 cases, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has issued multiple directions to Punjab, Haryana and UT Chandigarh saying that unless there is necessity of arrest for maintenance of law and order or any other emergent case, the police should desist from arresting the accused till June 30, 2021.
The directions were issued by the division bench of Chief Justice Ravi Shanker Jha and Justice Suvir Sehgal. The bench has appointed Senior Advocate, Anupam Gupta, as Amicus Curiae to assist the court in the matter.
In the order, the bench said, “It is observed that the litigants are not able to get in touch with counsels who in turn are finding it difficult to prepare files and get the matters listed at an early date. The situation that has arisen demands that certain measures be taken up so as to ensure that during this crisis, generation of litigation can be controlled for some time.”
The HC bench said that unless there is necessity of arrest for maintenance of law and order or any other emergent case, in a cognizable offence prescribing sentence up to seven years imprisonment, the police shall desist from arresting the accused up to June 30, without complying with the provision of Section 41A CrPC.
“This, however, may not be understood as an interdict on the power of the police to arrest, but should only be considered a mere advisory in the face of the ongoing crisis following second wave of coronavirus”, said the bench in the order.
The HC, the order said, had sought suggestions from the Union, and the three concerned representatives of states and UT, who submitted that the directions issued by the Madhya Pradesh High Court in this regard may be reiterated by this court with modification that interim arrangements would extend up to June 30.
The bench has further issued directions, that all the interim orders/directions issued or protection granted including any order requiring any compliance by the parties to such proceedings, passed by the HC or any other court subordinate to it, which are subsisting today shall stand extended till June 30.
Also, the orders of eviction, dispossession, demolition, etc, passed by HC or any other court subordinate to it, which have so far remained unexecuted, shall remain in abeyance till June 30.
The bench further directed that interim protection given in the anticipatory bail applications by the High Court or court of Sessions for a limited period, which is likely to expire shall stand extended till June 30, 2021. The same applies to parole granted by HC or by lower courts.
The HC also ordered that no bank or financial institution shall take action for auction in respect of any property of any citizen or person or party or any body corporate till June 30.
The court, meanwhile, also clarified that in case extension of interim orders as per the present order passed by this court, causes any undue hardship and prejudice of any extreme nature, to any of the parties to such proceedings, such parties would be at liberty to seek appropriate relief by moving appropriate applications before the competent courts.