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Delhi HC Dismisses PIL Seeking 'Extraordinary Interim Bail' for CM Kejriwal Until End of Tenure or Trial Completion

Delhi HC Dismisses PIL Seeking 'Extraordinary Interim Bail' for CM Kejriwal Until End of Tenure or Trial Completion

The Delhi High Court dismissed a PIL on Monday that requested "extraordinary interim bail" for Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal in all ongoing criminal cases until the end of his tenure in office or until the conclusion of the trials.

Acting Chief Justice Manmohan and Justice Manmeet Pritam Singh Arora, presiding over a Division Bench, imposed a fine of ₹75,000 on the petitioner. They highlighted that the petition lacked foundation and the petitioner did not possess a power of attorney from Kejriwal, authorizing them to file the PIL.

''The petitioner holds no power of attorney on behalf of the R5 to furnish any personal bond. In the present case, R5( Kejriwal) has the means and wherewithal to file the case and proceedings which he has so done before this court as well as the apex court. Consequently, this court is of the view that no relaxation of the concept of locus standi is called for," the Court stated.

The Court clarified that Kejriwal is currently in judicial custody according to a court directive, rendering any public interest litigation (PIL) petition regarding this matter not maintainable.

"This court is of the view that the present petition is not maintainable as R5 (Arvind Kejriwal) is in judicial custody in pursuance to the judicial orders which have not been challenged in the present petition. Further, this court in writ jurisdiction cannot grant extraordinary interim bail in a pending criminal case initiated against a person holding high office," the Court made it clear in its order.

The Court also highlighted that previous similar petitions had been dismissed, with the last one being rejected with costs amounting to ₹50,000. Senior Advocate Rahul Mehra, representing Kejriwal, notably opposed the plea as well.

The petitioner asserted that they were representing the interests of the people of India and expressed concern for the welfare of the residents of Delhi, citing the absence of an elected head of the government.

The Court, however, countered that such arguments had been addressed in previous similar petitions as well.

The petitioner submitted the plea under the banner of "We The People of India," stating that they opted not to use their personal name to avoid seeking publicity.

The petitioner argued that they were representing the residents of Delhi. They contended that certain individuals were attempting to tarnish Arvind Kejriwal's reputation by spreading false information on social media. Additionally, they emphasized that since his arrest, the entire operation of the Delhi government has halted.

The PIL, lodged by advocate Karan Pal Singh, contended that even if Kejriwal were acquitted of the charges, the time he spends in jail cannot be returned to him, highlighting the irreparable nature of such deprivation.

"The Respondent No.5 i.e. the Chief Minister of the NCT of Delhi may be guilty for the alleged offence(s) or may not be guilty for the same, but, it is a well established principal of law that “everyone charged with a penal offence has the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law in a public trial at which he has had all the guarantees necessary for his defense," the plea said.

The petitioner also raised concerns about Kejriwal's safety, noting that he is confined in jail alongside hardcore criminals facing charges ranging from rape and murder to dacoity and even involvement in bomb blasts.

Kejriwal was arrested on March 21 by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on allegations that he was the "key conspirator" in a money laundering case. This occurred shortly after the Delhi High Court rejected his plea for interim protection from arrest.

On March 22, Kejriwal was presented before Judge Baweja by the ED, who initially remanded the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader to ED custody until March 28.

Subsequently, on March 28, Kejriwal's ED custody was extended.

Finally, on April 1, Kejriwal was remanded to judicial custody, which continues today.A

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