It is well settled that a restriction cannot be imposed retrospectively: Delhi High Court

A person cannot be subjected to the prosecution for a retrospective action as upheld by the High Court of Delhi through the learned bench lead by Justice Mukta Gupta in the case of Sarmad Ahmed v. State of NCT of Delhi & Ors. (CRL.M.C. 1681/2021)

The brief facts of the case are that the petitioner left India for France on 19th October, 2019 and returned back to India on 5th February, 2020. Much after the petitioner came back to India from France on 5th February, 2020, the Government of India on 12th March, 2020 issued guidelines in the wake of Covid-19 situation thereby asking people to follow mandatory quarantine norm of 15 days for those who had travelled to and from China, Italy, Iran, Republic of Korea, France, Spain and Germany. On 7th April, 2020 the above noted FIR was registered against the petitioner under Section 188 of the IPC, Section 3 of the Epidemic Disease Act, 1897. It was noticed that on 19th, 20th, 23rd March, 2020 and many other times he violated the condition of home quarantine, visiting various places without informing the competent authority, thereby endangering the life of general public. On 25th March, 2021 the petitioner was served with a notice under Section 41A of Cr.P.C. to appear at PS Madhu Vihar on 27th March, 2021 at 4.00 PM. On 2nd July, 2021 summons were issued to the petitioner. On 7th July, 2021 the petitioner received a phone call from PS Madhu Vihar asking him to collect the summons, hence the present petition.   

The Hon’ble High Court of Delhi held, “The very genesis of the prosecution case against the petitioner is faulted. Besides the conflicting stands in the charge-sheet and the status report, the fact that once the guidelines issued on 24th March, 2020 were applicable for people entering India on or after 15th February, 2020 the same could not have been given further retrospective operation for the petitioner who had arrived in the country on 5th February, 2020, therefore the petitioner cannot be subjected to the prosecution for the offences as mentioned above. Consequently, the FIR and proceedings pursuant thereto are quashed.”

Click here to read the Judgment

Judgment reviewed by Vandana Ragwani


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