Arvind Kejriwal Received Relief From the Supreme Court in the Form of Bail Until 1st June

In Tuesday’s hearing, the Supreme Court recognized Arvind Kejriwal as the elected Chief Minister of Delhi and not as a habitual offender, granting him bail on Tuesday.

On Friday afternoon, the Supreme Court provided interim relief to Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, granting him bail until June 1st, coinciding with the final phase of the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. Mr. Kejriwal, who leads the Aam Aadmi Party, had been arrested by the Enforcement Directorate on March 21st in connection with an alleged scam related to Delhi’s liquor excise policy. Currently, he is in Tihar Jail in the city. However, he is required to surrender to prison authorities by June 2nd.

The court also mentioned that any further requests for extending relief would be addressed in the upcoming week. Mr. Kejriwal’s legal team had initially sought bail until July, which would cover the election period and the subsequent formation of the new government.

While granting interim bail, the Supreme Court dismissed arguments regarding the duration of release, emphasizing that the duration of 21 days should not be a significant concern. “For one-and-a-half years he was there… he could have been arrested before or after (the election) also. Whatever it is, 21 days here or there should not make any difference,” the court remarked.

Mr. Kejriwal’s legal representatives strongly advocated for his release to enable him to campaign for the AAP in the days leading up to the election for Delhi’s seven Lok Sabha seats, all of which are currently held by the BJP. The court’s decision provides Mr. Kejriwal with the opportunity to participate in the crucial electoral process.

Bail Conditions

The two-judge bench consisting of Justice Sanjiv Khanna and Justice Dipankar Datta outlined the bail conditions for Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, which are akin to those imposed on his colleague, Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh. Singh, who was arrested in October in connection with the same case, was granted bail in early April and was permitted to engage in political activities, including campaigning for the AAP. Similarly, Mr. Kejriwal is expected to have similar privileges upon his release.

However, there are certain restrictions imposed on Mr. Kejriwal. He is prohibited from visiting his office or the Delhi Secretariat and is barred from interacting with witnesses involved in the case or accessing related documents. Furthermore, he is not permitted to make any comments regarding his role in the ongoing case. Additionally, Mr. Kejriwal is obligated to adhere to the statement made on his behalf, which states that he will refrain from signing official documents unless it is necessary to obtain clearance or approval from the Lieutenant Governor of Delhi.

Moreover, Mr. Kejriwal must furnish bail bonds worth ₹50,000 along with a similar surety. Sources indicate that Mr. Kejriwal could be released from Tihar Jail as early as this evening.

AAP, Opposition Reacts

Shortly after Arvind Kejriwal was granted bail, his colleague, Mr. Singh, took to social media platform X to express his sentiments. “The truth may face challenges, but it can never be defeated. We welcome the decision of the Supreme Court. The era of dictatorship will come to an end, and the nation will witness the remarkable deeds of Kejriwal… Satyamev Jayate (truth alone triumphs),” he stated.

Gopal Rai, an AAP leader and Delhi Environment Minister, remarked, “Today, the Supreme Court has provided a glimmer of hope to all those who uphold the principles of the Constitution. Our party and the people of Delhi extend their gratitude to the Supreme Court…”

The opposition, including the Samajwadi Party and the Congress, which leads the INDIA bloc, also hailed Mr. Kejriwal’s release order. “We appreciate the Supreme Court’s decision to grant interim bail to Arvind Kejriwal…” remarked Congress leader Pawan Khera, before shifting focus to the former Chief Minister of Jharkhand, Hemant Soren. “We hope that Hemant Soren also receives fair justice.”

Mamata Banerjee, the Chief Minister of West Bengal and leader of the Trinamool Congress, also expressed her satisfaction with the decision on social media platform X, stating, “I am delighted to see that Arvind Kejriwal has been granted interim bail…”

Aaditya Thackeray, former Maharashtra Minister and member of the Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena faction within the INDIA bloc, added his voice to the chorus, stating, “Arvind Kejriwalji receiving justice and relief from the authoritarian regime in the country signals a significant change.”

Thackeray continued, “He has been speaking the truth, and that is something the BJP detests. We stand by him and the INDIA alliance. We are committed to safeguarding our Constitution and democracy!”

ED Opposed Bail For Kejriwal

On Thursday, the Enforcement Directorate (ED), which had initially opposed the granting of bail, submitted an affidavit outlining its concerns.

The agency, often criticized for allegedly being influenced by the ruling BJP to target and harass political opponents ahead of elections, asserted that no politician should claim a higher “special status” than an ordinary citizen. It emphasized that politicians are equally subject to arrest and detention for alleged offenses.

The ED contended that Arvind Kejriwal does not possess a “fundamental” right to bail for the purpose of campaigning. Additionally, it highlighted that no political leader had previously been granted bail specifically for campaigning. The agency expressed concern that releasing Mr. Kejriwal from custody to campaign for his party’s candidates would establish an undesirable precedent.

Not Habitual Offender

During Tuesday’s hearing, the court acknowledged Mr. Kejriwal as the duly elected Chief Minister of Delhi, emphasizing that he was not considered a habitual offender. “Given the ongoing elections and the unique circumstances, he cannot be deemed a habitual offender,” remarked the bench of Justice Sanjiv Khanna and Justice Dipankar Datta.

The court reiterated its stance that it would assess the bail request based not on Mr. Kejriwal’s political role but solely on whether exceptional circumstances justify his temporary release as the leader of AAP.

In a pointed query directed at the Enforcement Directorate (ED), the court questioned why it had taken two years for the agency to take action against the Chief Minister and his party. “The concern here is the delay of two years. It is concerning for any investigative agency to take such a long time to initiate action… When will the trial begin?” the court inquired.

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Alleged Delhi Liquor Policy Scam

According to the Enforcement Directorate (ED), the liquor policy implemented by the AAP government, which has since been revoked, allegedly facilitated kickbacks for the allotment of licenses, totaling ₹100 crores. These funds were purportedly utilized to finance the party’s electoral campaigns. Both the AAP and Mr. Kejriwal have vehemently refuted these allegations, asserting that they are baseless. They have accused the BJP of fabricating false charges in an attempt to tarnish the reputation of the party and its leaders prior to the elections.

Hiren Chokshi


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