Congress leader Kapil Sibal.
Congress leader Kapil Sibal. (File Photo| PTI)

SC must lay down policy for when to approach it: Sibal on rejection of Soren's plea

"If the Supreme Court does not listen to this matter, where will we go?" Sibal asked.

NEW DELHI: Rajya Sabha MP and senior advocate Kapil Sibal said on Saturday that the Supreme Court ought to have heard the merits of the case of former Jharkhand chief minister Hemant Soren's arrest by the ED before refusing to interfere in it and urged the court to lay down the criteria for when it should be approached by people.

Sibal alleged that Soren is being targeted as the BJP-led Centre "wants no opposition chief minister to continue in his post" and only "double-engine governments" everywhere.

In a setback to Soren, the Supreme Court on Friday refused to interfere with his arrest by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in a money-laundering case and asked him to approach the high court instead.

A special bench of Justices Sanjiv Khanna, M M Sundresh and Bela M Trivedi asked senior advocates Sibal and Abhishek Singhvi, appearing before them on behalf of the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) leader, to seek relief from the high court.

Speaking about the ruling at a press conference here, Sibal said, "We should be told by the court as in which matter we should come here (apex court) and in which matter we should not. We do not know whether the Supreme Court will hear our petition or not, but we know about history."

Arguing that Article 32 also gives a fundamental right to the citizens, he said several cases have been entertained by the Supreme Court and relief provided under the article.

Article 32 of the Constitution gives the right to every citizen to seek constitutional remedy from the Supreme Court when they have been deprived of their fundamental rights. The apex court should make a system or policy under which people know when to approach it and when not, Sibal said.

"I think there would hardly have been any such instance in the history of India when a sitting chief minister is arrested and that is also not deserving to be heard under Article 32. It would have been different if the Supreme Court had heard us and then, after hearing it, said 'we don't want to interfere', but we were not given a hearing also," the Rajya Sabha MP said.

Sibal claimed that the government wants no opposition or its chief ministers in the states.

"They will do this against (Delhi Chief Minister Arvind) Kejriwal. They want only double-engine governments and no opposition government," he alleged.

"Now, what will happen is that 10 more cases will be slapped on Hemant Soren while in custody. All of them made-up cases, so that he does not come out of jail and they (BJP) get benefits in the 2024 (Lok Sabha) election," Sibal claimed.

This is being done to a tribal who has been arrested on "made-up charges", he said.

"If the Supreme Court does not listen to this matter, where will we go?" Sibal asked.

What is happening in the country and what kind of politics is taking place, he wondered.

"Why don't you (Centre) announce that we will remove all opposition chief ministers and form our own governments," he said.

In his plea before the top court, Soren, who had to step down as the Jharkhand chief minister in the face of his imminent arrest, had accused the ED of arresting him as part of a "well-orchestrated conspiracy" by the Centre ahead of the Lok Sabha polls due in months.

Soren was arrested on January 31 in the money-laundering case linked to "illegal" possession of huge parcels of land and alleged association with the "land mafia".

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