High Courts grant bail to litigants on the condition of contributing towards Kerala Flood relief

The Judiciary has invented an innovative way of collecting funds for the flood victims in Kerala. The Judges of the Court are now granting bails to accused on the condition that they contribute to the Kerala Flood Relief Fund. As per LiveLaw, “Justice Ananda Sen of the Jharkhand High Court has allowed more than 20 such bail applications since 27 August, with the amount directed to be deposited ranging from Rs. 5,000 to Rs. 75,000. A total amount of more than Rs. 4 lakhs has been ordered to be deposited to the fund.”

In a case involving alleged contempt of court by former RJD MLA Bhola Yadav concerning his comments made on the Fodder Scam verdict, the Jharkhand HC reportedly dropped contempt proceedings against him on the condition that he pay Rs. 2.5 lakh as a contribution towards the Kerala flood relief. A division bench comprising of Justices Aparesh Kumar Singh and Ratnakar Bhengra said in an order passed on the 21st of August, “We are of the opinion that his unconditional and unqualified apology can be accepted, subject to payment of the cost of Rs 2.5 lakh. The cost be paid towards Kerala Relief Fund in the designated account.”

In other instances, anticipatory bail was granted to one Utpal Ray in a cheating and forgery case and bail applications of Dhaneswar Mandal and Sambhu Mandal accused of fraud was granted on the condition that they make contributions of Rs. 5000 each. In another case, Delhi High Court agreed to squash an FIR against one Tarun Singh accused of sexual harassment, stalking, and criminal intimidation, after the complainant confirmed the accused’s claim that the allegations were a consequence of a misunderstanding between them, However, the court also included that a sum of Rs. 15,000 towards the cost of proceedings be deposited in the  Chief Minister’s Disaster Relief Fund for the State of Kerala within two weeks.

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Hemant Kumar Sikarwar, the general secretary of the Jharkhand High Court Advocate Association has reportedly claimed that High Courts in Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka have also been issuing similar directions to litigants. It is notable here that after the devastating floods hit Kerala in the month of August, the central government, various state governments and private organisations had come forward to offer aid to the southern state. The Indian armed forces were deployed in large numbers to carry out rescue and relief operations on an unprecedented scale.

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