The Delhi High Court has granted interim bail to a 59-year-old accused in a money laundering case on medical grounds stating that the health condition of a human being is paramount.

The Court further stated that the discretion for granting interim bail on a medical ground may not be exercised only at a stage when the person is breathing last or is in a position where he may not survive.

A Single Bench of Justice Dinesh Kumar Sharma while dealing with the bail application said –

"Howsoever serious the offence may be, the health condition of a human being is paramount. The custody during the period of investigation cannot be termed to be punitive in nature. The health concern of a person in custody has to be taken care of by the State and keenly watched by the judiciary. Every person has a right to get himself adequately and effectively medically treated."

The Court also observed, "Article 21 of the Constitution not only gives a fundamental right to live but the right to live with dignity. Right to live a healthy life is also one of the facets of fundamental rights granted by the Constitution of this Country. The consistent view has been taken that if sufficient treatment is available in the jail then preferably the same should be provided to the prisoners. This Court firmly believes that a person in custody suffering from serious ailment should be given an opportunity to have the adequate and effective medical treatment. The discretion for granting the interim bail on medical ground may not be exercised only at a stage when the person is breathing last or is on the position that he may not survive."

Senior Advocate Siddharth Luthra and Advocate Siddharth Aggarwal appeared on behalf of the petitioner while Advocate Zoheb Hossain appeared for the respondent.

The petitioner sought bail on the ground of his medical condition during the pendency of the proceedings and stated in his application that he is having various ailments relating to the spine and back for which he is under constant medical supervision. He referred to the MRI and further stated that on account of his stay in jail his ailments have worsened as he has not been able to get any proper treatment.

The counsel for the respondent opposed the bail application and submitted before the Court that the earlier bail application has been dismissed by the coordinate Bench of the Court and that there is hardly any change of circumstances that may necessitate the grant of interim bail on medical grounds. It was also submitted that the petitioner is not suffering from any serious ailments which require any immediate hospitalization or any kind of further intervention. On the other hand, the counsel for the petitioner submitted that the applicant apart from the general ailments is suffering from serious lumber pain and is diagnosed with PIVD (Prolapsed Intervertebral Disk), LCS (Lumbar Canal Stenosis) L-3, L-4, L-5, and L5-S1.

The High Court after hearing contentions of both parties noted, "It is correct that the report states that the general condition of the inmate/patient is stable and all the medicines is being provided by the CJ-07 Dispensary. However, at the same time this report makes it clear that the date for the MRI SL Spine with SL Joint has been scheduled for 08.12.2023. It is also a matter of record that G.B. Pant Hospital did not accept the request for an early date of appointment for MRI LS Spine. It is no doubt true that the allegations against the accused are serious in nature. This court makes it clear at the outset that this Court has not gone into merits of the case. The seriousness of the allegations against the accused shall certainly be examined in light of the twin conditions as provided under Section 45 PMLA at the time of the decision of the pending bail application."

The Court further directed that the authorities shall look into the matter with promptness to ensure that long dates are not given for the medical examination or the prisoners.

The Court also clarified, "… the interim bail on medical grounds is granted on the peculiar facts and circumstances of the case and will definitely not be taken as a precedent. In the facts and circumstances of the case, the petitioner is admitted to interim bail on medical grounds till 10th February, 2023 …"

Accordingly, the Court disposed of the bail application.

Cause Title - Vijay Agrawal Through Parokar v. Directorate Of Enforcement

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