Monday, February 26, 2024

Supreme Court extends stay on proceedings against Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal in UP over election law violation

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The Supreme Court today extended its interim stay on proceedings against Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal in a case lodged against him for allegedly making objectionable remarks against the Congress and BJP in Uttar Pradesh during the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. 

The Delhi Chief Minister had approached the Supreme Court against an order of the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court which had refused to discharge him in the criminal case pending before the trial court at Sultanpur.

A bench comprising Justice MM Sundresh and Justice SVN Bhatti extended the stay imposed in early 2023 on further proceedings before the Special Court. During the hearing, Justice Sundresh lamented that matters of the present kind should not have to be dealt by the apex court.  

Arvind Kejriwal has been accused of promoting enmity between classes in connections with elections under section 125 of the Representation of The People (RP) Act, 1951. During the 2014 election campaign, the Aam Aadmi Party national convenor allegedly said that those who will vote for Congress will be betraying the nation and god will not forgive those who will vote for the BJP. 

The petition said that Arvind Kejriwal had not referred to any religion or caste but only a political party. It added that the political party cannot be considered as a class of citizens for the purpose of Sections 125 of the RP Act. 

In the petition before the Supreme Court, Arvind Kejriwal raised some important questions of law, including whether a case under Section 125 can be made out without there being any video clip or full transcript of the alleged speech made by him.

The plea underlined that though the complaint alleged violation of only the Model Code of Conduct, the police instead lodged an FIR on the very same day. It also submitted that the FIR was lodged without any independent inquiry by police. It further asserted that the action appears to have been taken post-haste and biased by the police. 

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