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Supreme Court says it may consider interim bail to Arvind Kejriwal due to polls



Supreme Court says it may consider interim bail to Arvind Kejriwal due to polls

During the hearing today, the Supreme Court said it was yet to make a decision on Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s interim bail. It also said that it will hear the matter again on May 7.

The Supreme Court on Friday indicated that it may decide to grant interim bail to jailed Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, even though it clarified that it has not decided the matter as yet. The court asked the Enforcement Directorate (ED) to take instructions on whether interim bail can be granted and what conditions can be imposed on him.

The oral observations by a bench of Justices Sanjiv Khanna and Dipankar Dutta came at the fag end of the hearing on the plea filed by Kejriwal that challenged his arrest by the ED.

“This case may take time. But if the case takes time, we may consider the question of interim bail because of the elections,” the bench said.

“We will hear you on Tuesday next week (May 7) and be prepared on the point of interim bail to him because of elections. Take appropriate instructions on this aspect and what conditions need to be imposed. We are asking you all this just because you need not be taken by surprise,” the bench asked Additional Solicitor General SV Raju, who appeared for ED.

The bench then posted the matter for further hearing on May 7.

Justice Khanna also asked Raju to answer the aspect that “can Kejriwal still sign his official files”.

At this, the ASG said, “Your statement will be blown out of proportion.”

Justice Khanna then said, “That’s the problem with the open court.” He added that the court is not saying that it will grant or not grant bail.

“We are not saying either way. We have been open about it. Do not assume anything,” Justice Khanna told both sides.

Kejriwal was arrested on March 21 in connection with the Delhi excise policy case.

During the hearing, the bench asked the ED and said, “You have applied section 70. Therefore, the prime accused, according to you, is AAP. There cannot be two prime accused for one offence. He is not prosecuted by the CBI. The investigation was going on but he (Kejriwal) is not chargesheeted.”

Raju clarified, “There need not be adjudication.”

At this, Justice Khanna again asked, “If AAP is an main accused, till date, the adjudication proceeding is not initiated against AAP can you arrest Kejriwal?”

ASG Raju responded, “There can be confiscations without adjudication and that is the scheme of the act.”

Senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, who appeared for Kejriwal argued, “All co-accused in my case first said nothing. Then they suddenly said something. Anything and everything done by a political party cannot be attributed to its convenor, treasurer etc.”

“What is it that connects Kejriwal with what the ED is saying except that he is the convenor of AAP,” he said.

“Suppose a company is part of a section. Can its MD be arrested? Kejriwal cannot be arrested on account of vicarious liability,” Singhvi told the bench.

At this, the bench said, “That is not how vicarious liability works, every person in charge and responsible is liable to be prosecuted. Is there any averment in the reasons to believe that he is being arrested on account of Section 70 of PMLA?”

Singhvi responded, “Merely mentioning of a company cannot lead to the arrest of its MD.”

Justice Khanna then said, “Any person in overall in-charge of the company, you are vicariously liable with the company and then you have to show that it was done without your knowledge.”

Responding to this, Singhvi said, “You were not contemplating political parties, business entities were contemplated. It’s a business flavour. Association of people will take colour from.”

Justice Khanna then said, “A society will be covered by an association of people.”

Singhvi then cited ED’s reply and said, “ED is saying he is also involved in demand of kickbacks. There is no direct evidence of this. Also, this is a Prevention of Corruption Act offence and not money laundering.”

The hearing remained inconclusive and will continue on May 7.

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