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Khuda believer remark: Supreme Court grants 4 weeks to Arvind Kejriwal to file rejoinder on UP government’s counter-affidavit

The Supreme Court on Tuesday granted Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal four-weeks’ time to file a rejoinder to the counter-affidavit submitted by the State of Uttar Pradesh in a 2014 case registered against him for allegedly saying that all those who believed in ‘Khuda’ won’t be pardoned by ‘Khuda’ if they voted for BJP.

The Bench of Justice M.M. Sundresh and Justice J.B. Pardiwala adjourned the hearing to the last week of September after the Counsel appearing for the national convenor of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) sought two-weeks’ time to file the rejoinder

The petition filed by Kejriwal challenged the Allahabad High Court order of January 2023, which refused to grant him discharge in a criminal case arising out of his controversial remarks made during the campaigning of 2014 elections.

The counsel appearing for the Uttar Pradesh government said that the State had no objection to the request for adjournment of the hearing.

The Supreme Court had, in February 2023, granted a temporary stay on trial proceedings against Kejriwal and issued notice on the petition. The stay was later extended in May.

During the course of hearing in May, the Counsel appearing for the Uttar Pradesh government had apprised the Bench of Justice K.M. Joseph and Justice B.V. Nagarathna that the State needed some time to file the counter affidavit.

The Bench stated that the interim order will continue and adjourned the hearing.

The case dates back to 2014, when an FIR was lodged against Kejriwal under Section 125 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 for allegedly violating the Model Code of Conduct for making a public statement “Jo Congress ko vote dega, mera manana hoga, desh ke saath gaddari hogi…jo Bhajpa ko vote dega use Khuda bhi muaf nahin karega, des ke sath gaddari hogi” [The one who votes for Congress, I believe, will be betraying the country… The one who votes for BJP, even God will not forgive him, he will be betraying the country.]

While dismissing his discharge plea, the Allahabad High Court said that it appeared that Kejriwal was threatening the voters in the name of Khuda knowing fully well that if he used the term ‘Khuda’, some set of voters belonging to different religions might be severely influenced.

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