SC registry declines Kejriwal’s plea for urgent hearing on interim bail extension | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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SC registry declines Kejriwal’s plea for urgent hearing on interim bail extension

May 29, 2024 11:56 AM IST

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) chief, who was released from judicial custody on May 10 to campaign during the Lok Sabha elections, has been directed by the top court to return to jail on June 2

In a setback for Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, the Supreme Court registry on Wednesday turned down his plea for an urgent hearing before a vacation bench, which sought a one-week extension of the CM’s 21-day interim bail on medical grounds in the Delhi excise policy case. Terming Kejriwal’s plea “not maintainable”, the registry cited earlier Supreme Court orders that limited Kejriwal’s temporary bail till June 1 and provided him the option to seek regular bail from the trial court.

Kejriwal’s legal team is currently considering its options in light of the substantial legal barrier facing the Delhi CM. (PTI file photo)
Kejriwal’s legal team is currently considering its options in light of the substantial legal barrier facing the Delhi CM. (PTI file photo)

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) chief, who was released from judicial custody on May 10 to campaign during the Lok Sabha elections, has been directed by the top court to return to jail on June 2.

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Kejriwal’s legal team is currently considering its options in light of the substantial legal barrier facing the Delhi CM. As advised by the Supreme Court in a previous order, one possibility is to approach the trial court for regular bail.

Earlier this week, Kejriwal moved the top court for an extension of his bail, highlighting the need for immediate medical examinations, including PET-CT scans and Holter monitoring, to assess potential serious health issues.

A day ago, senior counsel Abhishek Manu Singhvi, representing Kejriwal, mentioned the extension plea before the vacation bench comprising justices JK Maheshwari and KV Viswanathan, which refused to grant an urgent hearing, emphasising that it would be more appropriate for the Chief Justice of India (CJI) to make a decision on the matter, given that proceedings in Kejriwal’s petition have already been closed for judgment.

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Subsequently, Kejriwal’s legal team approached the court registry to get the plea listed before a bench but to no avail. The registry deemed the plea not maintainable, and referenced previous orders that clearly stipulated the conditions of Kejriwal’s temporary release, emphasising that any further bail requests should be directed to the trial court.

It further noted that the CM was also given the liberty to move the trial court for a regular bail without any prejudice to his rights and contentions when a top court bench of justices Sanjiv Khanna and Dipankar Datta reserved its judgment on his plea demanding invalidation of his arrest by the Enforcement Directorate (ED).

The registry underlined that since the Supreme Court has on May 17 already reserved judgment after concluding arguments in Kejriwal’s petition challenging the validity of his arrest, his fresh plea for extension of interim bail has no relation to main petition and therefore, cannot be processed for listing in the same matter.

Kejriwal was arrested by ED on March 21, 2024, in connection with a money laundering probe related to alleged irregularities in the now-cancelled Delhi excise policy 2021-22. After his challenge to the ED arrest was nixed by the Delhi high court on April 9, the CM moved the Supreme Court.

The top court on May 10 granted Kejriwal temporary bail till June 1, rejecting ED’ argument that his release for political campaigning would imply preferential treatment for politicians, and highlighting the significance of elections in a democracy. The bench of justices Khanna and Datta, however, continued hearing Kejriwal’s petition demanding invalidation of his arrest and reserved its judgment on May 17. The Supreme Court is currently closed for the summer break and will reopen on July 8. While vacation benches continue sitting throughout the break, the verdict on Kejriwal’s petition is expected only after the regular functioning resumes in July.

On May 27, Kejriwal’s moved an application requesting the court to extend his interim bail by a week, citing “alarming” health complications he endured during his recent incarceration in connection with the Delhi excise Policy case and the urgent need for medical tests.

According to the application, Kejriwal suffered substantial health deterioration during his custody from March 21 until May 10, partly due to the “negligent behaviour” of jail authorities. The plea notes a weight loss of approximately 6-7 kilograms, which he has been unable to regain despite resuming his previous lifestyle. Moreover, recent medical tests revealed elevated blood glucose and ketone levels, suggesting potential kidney-related complications and damage, Kejriwal said.

Despite these alarming health issues, the application contended, Kejriwal only managed to undergo a health check-up at home by a senior physician from Max Hospitals. Following this examination, the physician prescribed a series of comprehensive tests to assess Kejriwal’s health condition before his surrender, it added. The application emphasised the importance of these tests, including whole-body PET-CT scans and Holter Monitor Tests, in diagnosing potential ailments such as kidney damage, cardiac irregularities and even cancer.

Kejriwal was the third AAP leader arrested in the excise policy case. Former Delhi deputy CM Manish Sisodia was arrested in this case on February 23, 2023, and remains incarcerated. AAP MP Sanjay Singh was however released on bail on April 2 after the top court asked ED why Singh should be kept behind bars after serving six months in jail, considering that there does not appear to be any concrete evidence against him, and no money has been recovered linking him to the alleged money laundering offence. The leaders have all denied charges.

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