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Granting interim bail to Kejriwal does not amount to privilege to politicians: SC

The SC also observed that the investigation in the case has remained pending since August 2022 and Kejriwal was arrested on March 21 this year.

arvindNEW DELHI: Granting interim bail to Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal would not amount to grant of privilege or special status to politicians, the Supreme Court on Friday said, while observing that the AAP leader has no criminal antecedents and is not a threat to the society.

A bench of justices Sanjiv Khanna and Dipankar Datta, while granting interim bail till June 1 to Kejriwal in a money laundering case linked to the alleged excise policy scam, rejected the submission of the Enforcement Directorate (ED) that granting the relief for Lok Sabha campaigning will create a separate class of politicians.

It noted that the investigation in the case has remained pending since August 2022 and Kejriwal was arrested on March 21 this year.

It further said, “More importantly, legality and validity of the arrest itself are under challenge before this court and we are yet to finally pronounce on the same. The fact situation cannot be compared with harvesting of crops or plea to look after business affairs.”

The top court highlighted that once the matter is sub judice and the questions relating to the legality of the arrest are under consideration, a more holistic and libertarian view is justified in the background that the 18th Lok Sabha general elections are being held.

“It is no gain saying that the General Elections to the Lok Sabha are the most significant and important event this year, as they 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 said.

The top court added, “Given the prodigious importance, we reject the argument raised on behalf of the prosecution that grant of interim bail/release on this account would be giving a premium of placing the politicians in a benefic position compared to ordinary citizens of this country.”

Noting that the court always takes into consideration the peculiarities associated with the person in question and the surrounding circumstances while examining the question of grant of interim bail and release, the bench said, “In fact, to ignore the same would be iniquitous and wrong.”

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