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Monday, June 17 2024

Supreme Court to Hear Arvind Kejriwal’s Interim Bail Petition Today

Arvind Kejriwal
Photo Credit : ANI

New Delhi: The Supreme Court is anticipated to announce its decision today regarding the plea for interim bail by Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. Mr. Kejriwal was apprehended on March 21 by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in connection to a money laundering case associated with the purported liquor policy irregularities. He is seeking release from jail to participate in the ongoing Lok Sabha elections.

A bench, comprising Justices Sanjiv Khanna and Dipankar Datta, had reserved its verdict on Mr. Kejriwal’s interim bail plea on May 7. Presently, Mr. Kejriwal, who also serves as the national convenor of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), is detained in Tihar jail under judicial custody.

The bench has bifurcated the hearing on Mr. Kejriwal’s petition into two aspects. Firstly, his main petition contests his arrest by the central probe agency, urging it to be deemed “unlawful”. Secondly, it addresses the grant of interim bail, considering the ongoing Lok Sabha elections.

The Delhi High Court, on April 9, upheld Mr. Kejriwal’s arrest, affirming its legality and stating the investigative agency was compelled to act due to his repeated non-cooperation in the inquiry related to alleged irregularities in the now-defunct Delhi excise policy 2021-22.

Earlier this week, a Delhi court extended Mr. Kejriwal’s judicial custody in the money laundering case until May 20.

Opposition from ED on Arvind Kejriwal’s Bail

The ED filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court opposing Arvind Kejriwal’s plea, asserting equality before the law and emphasizing that campaigning for elections isn’t a fundamental, constitutional, or legal right.

The agency argued that no political figure has historically been granted bail for campaign purposes, warning that releasing Mr. Kejriwal to canvass for AAP candidates would establish an undesirable precedent.

In its affidavit, the ED referenced the court’s stance during the bail plea of former Delhi deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia, stressing the equal application of laws to all citizens and entities, including the State.

Emphasizing Mr. Kejriwal’s plea primarily for campaigning in the Lok Sabha elections, the agency contended that the right to campaign isn’t legally protected. It also argued that granting bail for campaign purposes could potentially open floodgates for similar requests from other politicians, noting Mr. Kejriwal isn’t even contesting in the ongoing elections.

The agency reiterated that granting bail to Mr. Kejriwal would establish a precedent for “unscrupulous politicians” to evade investigation by citing election campaigns.

Last Hearing in Supreme Court on Arvind Kejriwal’s Bail

During the previous hearing, the Supreme Court underscored the focus on exceptional circumstances necessitating interim bail, regardless of the petitioner’s political status. The bench acknowledged Mr. Kejriwal’s role as the elected chief minister of Delhi and emphasized the extraordinary circumstances surrounding the case.

Furthermore, the bench questioned the ED’s delay of two years in taking action against the chief minister and his party, highlighting the need for expedited proceedings.

All seven seats in Delhi are scheduled to vote in the sixth phase of the seven-phased Lok Sabha elections on May 25.

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