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May 10, 2024

ED Argues Against Interim Bail for Kejriwal: Campaigning Not a Fundamental Right

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has opposed the grant of interim bail to Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal in a money-laundering case associated with an alleged excise policy scam. In its submission to the Supreme Court, the ED contended that the right to campaign in elections is not fundamental, constitutional, or even a legal right.

In a fresh affidavit submitted to the Supreme Court, the ED stated that no political leader has ever been granted interim bail for campaigning, even if they are not contesting in the polls. The agency emphasized, “The right to campaign for an election is neither a fundamental right nor a constitutional right and not even a legal right.” It further noted that, to its knowledge, “no political leader has been granted interim bail for campaigning even though he is not the contesting candidate. Even a contesting candidate is not granted interim bail if he is in custody for his own campaigning.”

The bench headed by Justice Sanjiv Khanna, which heard Kejriwal’s petition against his arrest, announced that the interim order on bail would be pronounced on Friday, along with the main matter related to the challenge to the arrest.

Arvind Kejriwal, leader of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), was arrested on March 21 and is currently held in Tihar Jail under judicial custody. The bench, also comprising Justice Dipankar Datta, had reserved its verdict on Kejriwal’s interim bail plea on May 7.

On Tuesday, a Delhi court extended Kejriwal’s judicial custody in the case until May 20. The Delhi High Court had earlier upheld Kejriwal’s arrest on April 9, stating that there was no illegality and the ED was left with “little option” after he repeatedly skipped summonses and refused to join the investigation.

The case pertains to alleged corruption and money laundering in the formulation and execution of the Delhi government’s now-scrapped excise policy for 2021-22.

The ED’s opposition to granting interim bail to Kejriwal underscores the complexity and seriousness of the case, raising questions about the legal and constitutional rights of political leaders involved in criminal investigations. The outcome of the Supreme Court’s decision will have significant implications for the ongoing legal battle and the future course of the case.

Jhumpa Lahiri

Jhumpa Lahiri

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