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Delhi Court Denies Ishrat Jahan's Plea for Bail Over Spine Injury, COVID-19 Outbreak in Jail

In her application, Jahan had also said that she was a practicing advocate and did not have any criminal antecedent.

New Delhi: On a day when the Supreme Court said in a case related to Arnab Goswami that the “basic rule of the criminal justice system is bail, not jail,” a Delhi court denied interim bail to former Congress councillor Ishrat Jahan in spite of her counsel noting that she had suffered spinal injuries after a fall in Mandoli jail.

Jahan had approached the court for bail citing medical issues and the COVID-19 outbreak in Mandoli prison.

Jahan, who was arrested on February 26, had in July challenged a trial court’s order extending (beyond the 90 days mandated under UAPA) the time for completing the investigation by two more months and appealed for interim bail. The high court had dismissed it.

While dismissing Jahan’s bail application this time, Additional Sessions Judge Amitabh Rawat on November 26 said, “Considering the gravity of the offences including Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 with which the applicant is charged, the discussion in the preceding paragraphs and the Jail Report, I do not deem it a fit case to grant interim bail to accused Ishrat Jahan.”

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Jahan was arrested from an anti-CAA protest site in Delhi. Delhi Police has sought to link her to the riots in northeast Delhi in February, in what has turned out to be a deeply partisan investigation. In June, she had been given bail for a few days to get married.

Senior advocate Ramesh Gupta, appearing for Jahan, had told the court that being jailed had taken a toll on her mental health and some of the inmates at the prison had tested positive for COVID-19.

The counsel told the court that the applicant had a history of cervical, spine injury (lower back pain) and migraine prior to her arrest and she had been under continuous medication in the past for the said illnesses.

He also submitted that around 15 days ago, the applicant fell inside the bathroom while she was in jail due to slippery floor and has suffered spinal injuries.

Moreover, the COVID-19 situation inside the jail is precarious and the applicant has anxiety issues, he argued.

In her application, Jahan had also argued that she was a practicing advocate and didn’t have any criminal antecedents.

The prosecution opposed the application, saying that the latest medical prescription dated June 14, 2020 relating to the applicant also got verified from the hospital and a report has been obtained which suggests that there was no urgent medical requirement for the applicant.

It further argued that as per the report of the Jail Superintendent, Tihar Jail, Delhi, all the necessary protocols regarding the COVID-19 related precautions are being taken and the situation is totally under control.

“There is no COVID-19 scare inside the jail. The applicant is also being given proper treatment for her minor health issues and her condition is stable. In fact, she was tested twice for COVID-19 and was found negative,” it told the court.

(With PTI inputs)