No relief for Kejriwal from SC on his plea challenging HC order on stay of his bail

The Delhi Chief Minister, Kejriwal had on Sunday moved the Supreme Court challenging the Friday's Delhi High Court's order staying his bail, in the Delhi liquor case.
AAP National Convenor and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.
AAP National Convenor and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.File Photo | EPS

NEW DELHI: There was no immediate breather for Delhi Chief Minister, Arvind Kejriwal, as the vacation bench of the Supreme Court on Monday adjourned his plea, challenging the Delhi High Court's stay order on his bail, to June 26, in Delhi liquor case.

A two-judge vacation bench of the top court, led by Justice Manoj Misra and Justice S V N Bhatti, while refusing to pass any immediate order on Kejriwal's plea, said, "what we propose to do was, let the Delhi HC order come on record and we can keep the case next week. Without the order how do we proceed," the top court said, and adjourned the petition of Kejriwal for hearing on June 26, Wednesday.

It is to be noted that the Delhi HC had reserved the order, on the ED's appeal challenging the bail granted to Kejriwal by a trial court, and would expected to pronounce it on tomorrow or Wednesday. 

During the course of the hearing, Abhishek Manu Singhvi, senior lawyer for Kejriwal, questioned the Delhi High Court order staying the granting of bail on the first day of hearing.

"Why can’t the CM be free till the High Court gives its order. Counsel says CM has a bail order in his favour and he is not a flight risk," he said. 

Seeking immediate reversal of the HC order, Singhvi said that if the HC can pass an order at 10:30 am without seeing the (trial court) order, then why cannot the SC also stay the HC order without the judgment. 

To it, the apex court told him, if the HC did a mistake, why should we repeat it?

Singhvi further pointed out that the HC order was passed without any reasons, and prejudiced the matter. We had given a compilation of 10 judgments of SC that the bail once granted cannot be stayed without special reasons. "The HC order is wrong, and thereby the SC should immediately look into it," he argued. 

AAP National Convenor and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.
Supreme Court to hear Kejriwal's appeal against Delhi HC's bail stay in liquor case today

He said that the bail granted and bail reversal was completely different. "The procedure of staying bail on first day is unprecedented. Balance of convenience is in my favour," Singhvi said.

He also narrated to the apex court that if the plea would be rejected then he would go back to jail and goes to the situation as it was three weeks ago when he surrendered as per the SC order. 

Another lawyer for Kejriwal, Vikram Chaudhari, argued that totally 5 hours of hearing happened in the trial court, and out of that more than 3 hours were argued by the ED and rest by us. "So how come they (ED) are not given an opportunity to argue in the case, as claimed by them. It is wrong to say so," he said.

Opposing the submissions of Singhvi, Additional Solicitor General (ASG) S V Raju, argued that it was a fit case for stay of bail. The trial court order was perverse. 

The Delhi Chief Minister, Kejriwal had yesterday on Sunday knocked the doors of the Supreme Court challenging the Friday's Delhi High Court's order staying his bail, in the Delhi liquor case.

Delhi High Court's Vacation bench of Justice Sudhir Kumar Jain, had on Friday stayed the trial court's order of granting Kejriwal the bail and reserved the judgement on the ED's appeal, and said that he would pass the order on ED's stay appeal in 2-3 days, and might be on Tuesday, June 25.

So this has prompted the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) Convenor, Kejriwal to move the top court on Sunday challenging the HC's stay on his bail.

It is to be noted that the Delhi HC judge Justice Jain had on Friday said that he would likely to pass the order in the ED's appeal challenging the trial court's order, of granting bail to Kejriwal, likely on June 25, Tuesday.

The HC order was a big setback for Kejriwal.

On Thursday, June 20, in a major relief to Kejriwal, Rouse Avenue Court's Vacation Judge, in New Delhi, Niyay Bindu, passed the order, and had granted him bail in the Delhi liquor case. Kejriwal is the prime accused in the now scrapped Delhi liquor case. The court granted Kejriwal bail after directing him to furnish a personal bail bond of Rs 1 lakh. 

Soon after the pronouncement of the order by Judge Bindu, yesterday evening, the ED, which is probing the Delhi liquor case along with the CBI, requested the court to give 48 hours to sign the bail bond so that the order may be challenged by the probe agency before the appellate court.

The judge, however, did not allow the prayer of the ED and refused to stay the order. It ordered that the bail bond is to be produced before the duty judge by Friday.

The trial court also made it clear to the ED that there was no stay on the bail order. 

Challenging the trial court order, the ED had moved on appeal in the Delhi HC seeking stay of his bail.

During the course of the hearing on Thursday in the HC, Additional Solicitor General (ASG) SV Raju, for the ED, had argued that the trial court's bail order was "perverse" as it was contrary to the mandate of Section 45 of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act. "The trial court order shall be immediately stayed. We are not given an opportunity to represent our case in the trial court. When I try to submit, the trial court said I have to deliver judgment. Be brief," he said.

Opposing the submissions of the ED, senior advocate Vikram Chaudhari, for Kejriwal, raised a preliminary objection to the listing of the matter during the vacations because the trial judge had granted bail through a resend order. "What is the justification of approaching (by the ED) the HC," he questioned the ED's move.

"What is the anxiety to get it listed in the vacations? There is no question of a stay," he said.

The ASG Raju further elaborated to the SC  that we showed material in the trial court, but nothing was considered. There are two ways when bail can be cancelled. If relevant facts are not considered and irrelevant facts considered, that is a ground for cancellation of bail.

On the other hand, senior advocate, Abhishek Manu Singvhi, said that the ED's approach was "deplorable".

"The accused (Kejriwal) cannot be kept indefinitely in jail merely for the investigating agency to find evidence. It is very unfortunate that the ASG is maligning the judge merely because an adverse order was passed," he said.

Opposing the argument of ASG that he was not given an opportunity to argue, Singhvi went on to say that the hearing in the trial court lasted for five hours out of which ED took 3.45 hours and the rest by Kejriwal's lawyer. "Therefore, where is the question of ED being denied the opportunity to present its case," Singhvi pointed out and rejected his submissions.

On June 5, Delhi's same court Judge Kaveri Baweja rejected Kejriwal's bail plea on thr ground that hus involvement in the crime could not be ruled out. 

The ED had told the Court that he was the mastermind and main conspirator in the Delhi liquor case. "We have all the evidence against him,"the ASG Raju told the court. 

A day after his plea was rejected by the Delhi High Court on April 9, Kejriwal had on April 10 moved the Supreme Court against the dismissal of plea of his arrest and remand in the case.

The accused, Kejriwal claimed innocence in the liquor gate scam case and had told the Court, during the hearings that the timing of his arrest right after the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) is to humiliate, insult, and disable him and his political party.

The ASG Raju said that there are sufficient evidences against him and he is the main criminal conspirator in the Delhi liquor scam case. 

Earlier on May 10, the Supreme Court in its order granted bail to Kejriwal till June 01 to participate in election campaigns, and asked him to surrender on June 02, while imposing certain conditions on him. He was in Tihar jail since March 21, for his alleged involvement in the Delhi liquor case.

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