Mumbai News

Bombay HC grants bail to Kolhapur doctor who clashed with cop over wearing mask – Times of India

MUMBAI: Bombay high court granted pre-arrest bail to a Kolhapur doctor who was booked for allegedly assaulting a homeguard on Covid-19 bandobast duty after he was told to wear a mask.
Justice Bharati Dangre, via videoconference, on March 5 heard an application by Shekhar Sanadi against whom an FIR is registered under Indian Penal Code sections 323 (punishment for voluntarily causing hurt), 353 (assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty) and 506 (punishment for criminal intimidation) and under provisions of the Disaster Management Act, 2005.
According to the FIR by Shailesh Mali, a home guard with the Shahupuri Police Station, he was assigned bandobast on March 27, 2030, at Sadar Bazaar, Masjid Chowk. Around 8 pm, he along with a fellow homeguard and a constable were instructing people on measures for preventing the spread of coronavirus. Sanadi, who was riding a white scooter, questioned them who they are. When Mali told him “to cover his mouth (sic) first and then talk to them”, Sanadi did not listen to him or his colleagues.
Instead, he said homeguards have no such duty assigned to them and also they have no right to ask people to stay at their homes or threaten them. The FIR also stated that he claimed to be a journalist and threatened to shoot a video and send it to their superiors to show what sort of duty they were doing.
Sanadi also told threatened that if they do not leave the spot, he will press charges under the Atrocities Act. Then he allegedly kept his hand on Mali’s shoulder and pushed him twice. Thereafter Sanadi drove away After narrating the incidence to his superiors in the police station, Mali filed the complaint on March 29, 2020.
The Kolhapur sessions court on April 3, 2020, rejected his plea for pre-arrest bail. He then moved the high court. His application said the allegations are concocted and that the incident is due to a misunderstanding as the homeguards were not wearing their uniforms. He admitted he had not worn a mask while he was on his way to purchase medicines. He also stated that initially, they spoke to him in a soft tone but as he was not wearing a mask soon the same took a turn of heated arguments.”
His advocates Hrishikesh Mundargi and Rohan Hogle argued that the applicant is himself a Covid-19 fighter and while serving patients he himself got infected and was on home quarantine. They said nowhere in a video of the incident, captured by someone, it can be seen that Sanadi assaulted or even touched Mali or his colleagues. They added that ingredients for offences registered against him are not made out. Public Prosecutor Deepak Thakare along with additional public prosecutor Shreekant Gavand opposed bail for Sanadi.
In the order, Justice Dangre stated that Mali’s complaint refers to the altercation in detail and alleges that he was prevented by Sanadi in the discharge of his official duty. She said as far as the assault is concerned, the complaint states that Sanadi placed his hand on Mali’s shoulder. With this allegation, the offences has been registered against him. “On perusal of the FIR, prima facie what emerges is a verbal altercation between the complainant and the applicant while the former was discharging his duty. No ingredients of Sections 323 and 353 of the IPC are made out from the complaint/FIR,” she added.
Justice Dangre then directed that in the event of arrest, Sanadi shall be released on bail on furnishing a personal bond of Rs 50,000/- with one or two sureties of the like amount.”He shall not directly or indirectly make any inducement, threat or promise to any person acquainted with facts of the case so as to dissuade him from disclosing the facts to the court or any police officer,” she added. Sanadi is also directed not to tamper with evidence and shall make himself available as and when required by the investigating officer.