Supreme Court to decide whether to grant interim bail to Arvind Kejriwal for election campaigns, next hearing on May 09 or next week

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While hearing Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s petition challenging his arrest by the ED (Enforcement Directorate) in the money laundering case in connection with the Delhi liquor policy scam, the Supreme Court (SC) on May 07, 2024, also addressed the issue of granting Delhi CM Kejriwal interim bail. The top court bench constituting Justice Sanjiv Khanna and Justice Dipankar Datta was hearing the matter. The SC did not pass any order yet regarding the interim bail of Arvind Kejriwal but it said that if interim bail is granted to Kejriwal then he should not discharge any official duties as Chief Minister. The bench remarked “Suppose we grant interim bail on account of elections. Then if you say you will attend to office then it may have cascading effect.. Dr Singhvi if we give any interim bail we do not want you to be performing official duties as somewhere it will lead to conflict. We do not want interference at all in the working of the government.” 

During the proceedings, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, who appeared for the ED, opposed the plea for interim bail stating “Please do not earmark a political leader as a separate class and let them not be separated from the common man. It is being stated that nothing was done (by ED) in 1.5 years and (he was) picked up during elections. That is not the correct impression at all.” He added, “He chose to be a Chief Minister without a portfolio and it is done to accommodate some people. If bail is allowed, won't this be irreversible if the plea is allowed.” SG Mehta also said that if Kejriwal is granted interim bail for elections then why should not jailed farmers be released during the season of harvesting? The SC replied, “Look, there are 2-3 is, he is elected Chief Minister of Delhi. The elections are around the corner. These are extraordinary situations. He is not otherwise a habitual offender...or somebody who has been involved in many other cases...And elections are held once in 5 years. It's not like harvesting season every 6 months. We don't appreciate this.”  

The top court clarified that no special exemption was being created for politicians. It said “We are not going by whether he is a politician or not a politician. Every individual involved will have a special circumstance or case involved. We have to see if that person falls under that special circumstance considering elections are there. We are not saying there is a different law for others.” After hearing the contentions, the SC bench listed the matter for hearing on May 09, 2024 (Thursday) or next week.