Mumbai: Sessions court denies bail to 20-year-old, who played cricket without wearing mask amid COVID-19 pandemic
Mumbai: Sessions court denies bail to 20-year-old, who played cricket without wearing mask amid COVID-19 pandemic
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Mumbai: An additional sessions judge of the Mumbai city civil and sessions court denied bail to 20-year-old Naved Qureishi arrested by JJ Marg police officials for playing cricket early this month with his friends without wearing a mask.

While rejecting his bail application, the court called Qureishi, a resident of Don Tanki area, a ‘serious menace to the general public at large’. Additional session judge Abhijeet A Nandgaonkar held that though he is 20-year-old, he should know the pandemic situation in the city and follow the guidelines issued by the local authority and police.

It prima-facie appears he was a member of an unlawful assembly, observed the court and said that situation in the state, and particularly Mumbai, because of COVID-19 was like a mayhem, and the police imposed section 144 in the city to control it.

“In such a pandemic the applicant along with other boys were allegedly playing cricket, that too without wearing a mask, is prima facie contravening the provisions of the Disaster Management Act,” noted judge Nandgaonkar in his order.

The court further held that he and others had formed an unlawful assembly with the common object to take the law in hand and contravened the guidelines issued by the state authority.

The judge noted, “Therefore, even if he is released on stringent conditions, it will be a serious menace to the general public at large as he has not abided by the guidelines issued by authorities in the pandemic situation which is surging in the state and the country.”

Earlier, Qureishi’s bail plea was rejected by a magistrate court on April 9, after which he had approached the sessions court stating that the magistrate had erred in the order. In his plea before the sessions court, Naved Qureishi had stated that he is framed based on a concocted story.

According to the complaint registered at JJ Marg Police Station, at around 7 pm on 4 April, some boys were playing cricket in Don Tanki area. When the saw police patrolling the area, they tried to escape from the spot. But in the process left two of their mobile phones behind. When a police official picked up one of the mobile phones, and told them that they would face action for not wearing a mask, one of the boys twisted the constables left hand, snatched the mobile and ran away. The constable suffered a fracture to his hand in the incident, and later seven persons including Qureishi were identified.

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