India National News

SC Rejects Arvind Kejriwal’s 7 Day Bail Plea Extension

In a setback for Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, the Supreme Court registry on Wednesday rejected his request for an urgent hearing by a vacation bench. Kejriwal had asked for a one-week extension of his 21-day interim bail on medical grounds in the Delhi excise policy case. The registry said Kejriwal’s request was “not maintainable” and referred to earlier Supreme Court orders that limited his temporary bail to June 1. The orders also gave him the option to apply for regular bail from the trial court.


The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader, who was released from jail on May 10 to campaign during the Lok Sabha elections, has been ordered by the Supreme Court to return to jail on June 2.


Earlier this week, Kejriwal asked the Supreme Court to extend his bail, emphasizing the need for immediate medical tests, including PET-CT scans and Holter monitoring, to check for potential serious health issues.


A day ago, senior lawyer Abhishek Manu Singhvi, representing Kejriwal, brought up the extension request before the vacation bench of justices JK Maheshwari and KV Viswanathan. The bench refused to give an urgent hearing, saying it would be better for the Chief Justice of India (CJI) to decide since the case was already closed for judgment.


Afterwards, Kejriwal’s legal team tried to get the plea listed before a bench through the court registry, but it was unsuccessful. The registry said the plea was not maintainable and pointed to previous orders that set the terms of Kejriwal’s temporary release, stressing that any further bail requests should go to the trial court.


It also noted that the Chief Minister could seek regular bail from the trial court without affecting his rights and arguments, as the Supreme Court bench of justices Sanjiv Khanna and Dipankar Datta had reserved judgment on his plea to invalidate his arrest by the Enforcement Directorate (ED).


The registry emphasized that since the Supreme Court had already reserved judgment on May 17 after hearing arguments in Kejriwal’s petition challenging his arrest, his new plea for an extension of interim bail was unrelated to the main petition and, therefore, could not be processed for listing in the same case.


Kejriwal was arrested by the ED on March 21, 2024, in a money laundering investigation related to alleged irregularities in the now-cancelled Delhi excise policy for 2021-22. After the Delhi High Court dismissed his challenge to the ED’s arrest on April 9, he appealed to the Supreme Court.


On May 10, the Supreme Court granted Kejriwal temporary bail until June 1, rejecting the ED’s argument that releasing him for political campaigning would show preferential treatment for politicians and underscoring the importance of elections in a democracy. The bench of justices Khanna and Datta continued to hear Kejriwal’s petition challenging his arrest and reserved its judgment on May 17. The Supreme Court is on summer break and will reopen on July 8. Although vacation benches are active during the break, the verdict on Kejriwal’s petition is expected only after the court resumes regular sessions in July.


On May 27, Kejriwal submitted an application requesting a one-week extension of his interim bail, citing “alarming” health issues he experienced during his recent incarceration related to the Delhi excise policy case and the urgent need for medical tests.


According to the application, Kejriwal’s health significantly deteriorated while he was in custody from March 21 to May 10, partly due to the “negligent behaviour” of jail authorities. The plea states he lost about 6-7 kilograms, which he has not been able to regain despite returning to his usual lifestyle. Additionally, recent medical tests showed elevated blood glucose and ketone levels, indicating potential kidney-related complications and damage.


Despite these alarming health issues, the application stated that Kejriwal could only have a home health check-up by a senior physician from Max Hospitals. After this examination, the physician recommended several comprehensive tests to assess Kejriwal’s health before he returned to custody. The application highlighted the importance of these tests, including whole-body PET-CT scans and Holter Monitor tests, to diagnose potential issues such as kidney damage, cardiac irregularities, and cancer.


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