The Bombay High Court granted anticipatory bail to Caseline and Cindrella Bhandari, a couple residing in Uttan, Bhayandar. Allegedly, they were accused of obstructing the demolition staff from razing an illegal construction on the mangrove forest. The Court has directed the couple to jointly deposit Rs 25,000 in the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund, to be used for the treatment of COVID-19 patients.
However, Justice Bharati Dangre specified that this is an additional condition as they behaved irresponsibly during the pandemic era.
MBMC’s anti-encroachment drive staff was at Uttan to demolish an illegal structure comes up on the mangroves forest land. However, Caseline and Cindrella objected the demolition and gathered the village people. This lead to heated arguments.
Nevertheless, Uttan Coastal Police Station had registered an FIR against the couple for bringing obstacles for public servants from performing their duties. Mr and Mrs Bhandari obstructed an anti-encroachment squad of MBMC by lying in front of JCB (Bulldozer). On July 27, Police booked them under relevant sections of IPC, the Disaster Management Act 2005, Maharashtra Covid-19 Act 2000 and Epidemic Diseases Act 1897.
After perusing the FIR, Justice Dangre noted that a case under section 353 is not made out against the accused. However, the court also observed that the other sections are also bailable. Honourable Dangre declared the action as an ‘unfortunate’ act.
Deposit to CM Relief Fund
“While granting anticipatory bail, HC observed that the applicants had behaved irresponsibly. Significantly, every citizen of this country is expected to co-operate, particularly with those rendering essential services. The couple was directed to deposit Rs 25,000 in the CM’s Relief Fund. This money will be used for the treatment of COVID-19 patients,” said Justice Bharati Dangre in her order.
Earlier, Justice Dangre has directed Zafar Jamal Khan, a Mira Road resident, to deposit Rs 10,000 in CM’s Relief Fund.
According to sources, “The squad went there based on HC orders in a PIL of 2006, for protecting mangroves forest. MBMC has served the notice of the demolition to the locals on July 23, four days before the action.”