New Delhi: The Madhya Pradesh High Court has asked an 18-year-old accused to go off social media and undergo a digital detox, as a bail condition.
Justice Anand Pathak was hearing a bail application Tuesday, filed by a student of agricultural science who had been accused under Sections 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), 294 (obscene acts and songs), 506 (criminal intimidation), 327 (voluntarily causing hurt to extort property) and 329 (voluntarily causing grievous hurt to extort property) of the Indian Penal Code. He had been in jail since 24 June.
Justice Pathak ordered that the “applicant shall remove himself from the WhatsApp and Facebook group and other Social Media groups for next two months and would not be present on any social media platform at all for two months for digital detoxification for personal reasons or for other reasons, otherwise bail shall be considered withdrawn”.
The student was also asked to submit a report on his digital detoxification every month at the police station concerned.
“Any default shall dis-entitle him from benefit of bail,” the court asserted.
HC directs him to plant five trees
In his bail application, the accused contended that he had been falsely implicated. He added that he had “learnt the lesson hard way and would mend his way and would become a better citizen”.
Accepting such submissions, the court granted him bail on a personal bond of Rs. 50,000 and asked him to download the Aarogya Setu app.
He has also been asked to plant five fruit-bearing or Neem and Peepal trees, as well as take care of them. He has further been asked to submit a report on complying with this condition, along with photos of the plants, within 30 days.
Plants, non-Chinese LED TV, Covid-19 warriors
This isn’t the first time that the high court has issued such an order.
In June, the court had imposed a similar condition on a man accused under Section 354 (assault or criminal force to women with intent to outrage her modesty) of the IPC and provisions of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act 2012. He was asked to plant “either fruit bearing trees or Neem and Peepal” as a bail condition and was even directed to take good care of the trees.
In another case, the court had asked two bail applicants to install a “black coloured LED TV”, manufactured anywhere but in China, at a local district hospital for bail.
In the past few months, the court has also been directing bail applicants to register themselves as ‘Covid-19 warriors’ with district magistrates, as a bail condition.
It asserted that it is the applicants’ fundamental duty to “defend the country and render national service when called upon to do so”.
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