NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court on Monday agreed to hear a petition seeking immediate release of AAP convener Arvind Kejriwal, who was sent to jail after he refused to furnish bail bond in a criminal defamation complaint against him. The plea was mentioned by advocate Prashant Bhushan before a Bench of Justice B D Ahmed and Justice S Mridul which said it would be listed for hearing on Tuesday.
The petition challenged the May 21 and 23 orders of a Magisterial Court remanding Kejriwal in judicial custody for not furnishing bail bond in the criminal defamation complaint filed by BJP leader Nitin Gadkari, saying the same was not mandatory and he should have been allowed to give a written undertaking instead.
The habeas corpus plea, filed on behalf of the AAP leader, has named Gadkari and the Delhi government as parties.
The petition contended that the orders were passed by the Magistrate “on the assumption that when an accused appears on his own in a summon case on receiving a summoning order, which allows him to appear even through his pleader, he must furnish a bail bond and if he fails to do so, he would necessarily be sent to judicial custody.”
Former Delhi Chief Minister Kejriwal was sent to judicial custody by a Magistrate on May 21 for two days. On May 23, his custody was extended till June 6 after he refused to furnish a bail bond. Kejriwal was earlier summoned as an accused by the court in the defamation complaint in which Gadkari had alleged that he was defamed by the AAP leader, who had included his name in the party’s list of “India’s most corrupt”.
‘Ban Kejri’s Letter’
A petition was on Monday moved in the Delhi High Court seeking ban on publication and circulation of Kejriwal’s letter questioning court orders sending him to judicial custody and also levelling allegations against BJP leader Nitin Gadkari.
The public interest litigation (PIL) was mentioned before a Bench of Justice B D Ahmed and Justice S Mridul by advocate Vivek Narayan Sharma who also sought blocking of the AAP website till the letter was withdrawn from it.
The Bench refused to give an urgent hearing to the matter as sought by Sharma and said it will be listed for hearing before the concerned bench on May 28.
The PIL has sought a ban on the letter on the ground that it “would entice people” not to follow rule of law.