Arvind Kejriwal’s bail extension plea: Supreme Court tells Delhi CM to move CJI for listing

Kejriwal has sought an extension of his interim bail by seven days to undergo a host of medical tests

Updated - May 28, 2024 02:39 pm IST

Published - May 28, 2024 11:44 am IST - New Delhi

Delhi Chief Minister and AAP Supremo Arvind Kejriwal, in his fresh plea filed on May 26, said he would surrender before jail authorities on June 9 instead of June 2, the scheduled date for his return to prison. File

Delhi Chief Minister and AAP Supremo Arvind Kejriwal, in his fresh plea filed on May 26, said he would surrender before jail authorities on June 9 instead of June 2, the scheduled date for his return to prison. File | Photo Credit: PTI

A Vacation Bench of the Supreme Court declined to list an application filed by Arvind Kejriwal’s plea seeking an extension of his interim bail by seven days in a money laundering case linked to the liquor policy ‘scam’.

The Bench of Justices J.K. Maheshwari and K.V. Viswanathan on May 28 said it cannot intervene in an application filed in a case already reserved for judgment by another Bench of the court.

A Bench of Justices Sanjiv Khanna and Dipankar Datta had reserved judgment on the Delhi CM’s plea to quash his arrest by the Directorate of Enforcement (ED) in the case chargesheeted under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). While reserving the case for judgment on May 17, Justice Khanna’s Bench had given Mr. Kejriwal liberty to apply for statutory bail under Section 45 of the PMLA.

On May 28, the Vacation Bench told senior advocate A.M. Singhvi, who orally mentioned the application for extension of interim bail for urgent hearing, to approach the Chief Justice of India for “appropriate orders” for listing.

“We cannot do anything,” Justice Maheshwari addressed the senior counsel.

Mr. Singhvi submitted the application was made on medical grounds and did not amount to an abuse of liberty.

In his application seeking extension of time by a week, Mr. Kejriwal had said he had to undergo a series of medical tests, including a PET-CT scan.

The Bench asked then why the plea was not made before Justice Datta, who was heading a Vacation Bench last week.

The Supreme Court had granted Mr.Kejriwal interim bail on May 10 to campaign for the Lok Sabha elections. Mr. Kejriwal was ordered to surrender on June 2.

“There is no gain in saying that the General Elections to Lok Sabha is the most significant event this year, as it should be in a national election year. Between 650-700 million voters out of an electorate of about 970 million will cast their votes to elect the government of this country for the next five years. General Elections supply the vis viva to a democracy,” the Bench of Justices Khanna and Datta had observed in its interim bail order.

The court had barred Mr. Kejriwal from visiting the Chief Minister’s office or the Delhi Secretariat. He was ordered not to sign any official files unless it was required and necessary for obtaining clearance or approval of the Lieutenant Governor of Delhi. He was also prohibited from making any comments with regard to his role in the liquor policy case.

The eight-page order on May 10 had rejected an argument by the prosecution agency, Directorate of Enforcement (ED), that releasing Mr. Kejriwal on interim bail to canvas votes would create an impression among the public, worse still, a judicial precedent, that politicians were a separate class, higher in status than the ordinary citizen and immune from arrest.

Every criminal would vie to be a politician, the ED had rued.

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