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P&H HC: ‘Obesity Root Cause of All Diseases’, Grants Bail to Money Laundering Accused Due to ‘Obesity’ Being Sickness

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Sarthak Umang

Published on: 09 November 2022 at 18:45 IST

The Punjab and Haryana High Court granted bail to a money laundering suspect, noting that he is an overweight person weighing 153 kg, and thus, considering his co-morbidities, his case may fall under the exception of being “sick,” as carved out in the first proviso to Section 45 (1) of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002.

For context, Section 45 (1) of the PML Act says that before someone is released on bail or bond for an offence under the act, the public prosecutor ought to first receive an opportunity to oppose the bail application, and secondly, while the application is opposed, the court must be satisfied that there are reasonable grounds for believing that the accused isn’t guilty of offence and is unlikely indulge in any crime while out on bail.

The first proviso to Section 45 (1) of the PMLA similarly says that a person who’s under the age of 16 years, is a lady, is unwell or infirm, or is accused both personally and at the side of different co-accused of money laundering for a sum of much less than one crore rupees, can be released on bail if the Special Court so directs.

Stressing that obesity isn’t only a symptom but is itself a sickness that will become the basis for numerous different diseases.

The bench of Justice Gurvinder Singh Gill determined thus:

“With such co-morbidities, the response, the resistance, the resilience, and the capacity of the body to fight ailments and recuperate efficaciously, decreases substantially. The jail doctor or for that matter, a civil hospital may not be fully equipped to handle a patient having multiple ailments who apart from medical treatment may require a certain level of monitoring, care, and attention which ordinarily is not available in jail.”

Against this backdrop, thinking about the co-morbidities of the petitioner, the Court held that it may safely be stated that the accused falls within the exception of being “sick,” as carved out in Section 45 of the Act, and will be entitled to be released on bail.