Title: SANJAY JAIN (IN JC) v. ENFORCEMENT DIRECTORATE
BAIL APPLN. 3807/2022
Judgment on – 05.06.2023
CORAM: HON’BLE MR. JUSTICE VIKAS MAHAJAN
“The independence of a person accused or found guilty of an offense can be curtailed according to the procedure prescribed by law; nevertheless, right to health is also recognized as an important facet of Article 21 of the constitution; simply because a person is under trial or, for that matter, a convict, placed in jail, this facet of right to life cannot be curtailed; it remains an obligation of the state to provide adequate and successful healthcare to every person lodged in jail.”
The Delhi High Court decided on Monday that the right to grant bail on medical excuses under the PMLA is optional and must be employed prudently after establishing satisfaction that requisite conditions exist leading to the use of such a decision.
Facts of the Case
The court was considering a bail petition filed by Sanjay Jain, who was charged with money laundering. The standard bail plea was handled by his wife. During the usual bail hearing, Jain’s wife filed a declaration on May 22 asking for temporary relief on medicinal and humanitarian fronts for three months, claiming that his health was critical. According to the wife’s statement, the 57-year-old had several pre-existing conditions, including hypertension, depression and anxiety, diabetes, and damaged mitral valve prolapse. It was also reported that his health had deteriorated in jail and that he was unable to receive medical care.
While declining to grant Jain temporary release, the court did order the Director of AIIMS to promptly form a Medical Board of Doctors to evaluate Jain’s medical condition.
According to section 45 of the PMLA, not every condition enables a defendant to grant bail for medical reasons, and the term used in the provision’s first proviso is that a person can be freed on release if he is “sick” or “infirm.”
Courts Analysis and Decision
Merely, the petitioner’s health must take precedence, and it is his fundamental right to adequate and effective treatment while incarcerated. However, if specialized or sustained treatment and care is required due to the petitioner’s medical condition and is not possible while incarcerated, the petitioner will be eligible for the benefit of interim bail under the first proviso to Section 45(1) of the PMLA, the court said. Justice Mahajan stated that appointments for Jain’s diagnostic procedures were booked roughly five months to one year later, indicating that government Hospitals are overcrowded and unable to handle the medical concerns he encountered while in jail.
Nevertheless, there is no medical consensus on record indicating how critical is the need for the applicant to undergo CT angioplasty for his heart disease and MRI LS spine and whether, as a result of the postponement of the said testing and subsequent delay in treatment, the petitioner’s life could be jeopardized,” it said. “In lieu of the conclusions of the experts, it is hard for this Court to conclude that there is a case for grant of interim bail on medical grounds,” the court added. “The Court can’t assume the role of a doctor and make its own assessment of the petitioner’s health on the medical grounds.”
The judge ordered the Jail Superintendent to turn over all of Jain’s medical records to the Medical Board of Doctors and allowed the wife to turn over pertinent medical data to the governing body with a duplicate to the Special Counsel for ED. The Jail Superintendent received further instructions to make sure that Jain appears before the Medical Board on June 7 at the date and place specified by the Board. “Upon review of medical documentation and testing of the applicant, the Medical Board will submit its report to this Court before or on 10.06.2023, the court ordered.”
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Written by- Anushka Satwani