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IndiaCanvassing no basis for bail to Arvind Kejriwal: ED

Canvassing no basis for bail to Arvind Kejriwal: ED


New Delhi: The Enforcement Directorate on Thursday opposed the “proposed” grant of interim bail by the Supreme Court to Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal in a money-laundering case linked to the Delhi excise policy “scam”, asserting the right to campaign in elections was not a fundamental, constitutional or even a legal right.

In a fresh affidavit filed in the top court ahead of May 10 crucial hearing on interim bail to Kejriwal, the ED vehemently opposed his possible release to campaign in the ongoing Lok Sabha polls, pointing that Kejriwal has not filed any plea for regular or interim bail before any court.

“It is relevant to note that the right to campaign for an election is neither a fundamental right nor a constitutional right and not even a legal right… 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 ED submitted.

“A politician can claim no special status higher than that of an ordinary citizen and is as much liable to be arrested and detained for committing offences as any other citizen,” the probe agency said in the affidavit.

“If the right to campaign is treated as a basis for the grant of interim bail, it would breach the principles of Article 14 for the reason that harvesting for a farmer would be an equally important factor seeking interim bail as would a board meeting or an annual general meeting for a director of a company who commits a as these are their respective vocations or professions,” it said.

“There are numerous examples where politicians contested elections in judicial custody and some have even won, but were never granted interim bail on this ground,” the ED contended.

The ED urged the Bench to deny interim bail to Kejriwal, saying “it would not only be against the settled principles of law, but (also) violate the rule of law which is a basic feature of the Constitution”.

Meanwhile, Kejriwal's legal team is said to have raised strong objection to the ED's affidavit. Sources said it lodged a complaint with the Registry, terming the affidavit a blatant disregard of legal procedures, considering the fact that the matter was already slated for final decision on May 10.

Arrested on March 21, Kejriwal is currently lodged in Tihar Jail. He has challenged the Delhi HC's April 9 verdict upholding his arrest.

The Northlines is an independent source on the Web for news, facts and figures relating to Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh and its neighbourhood.

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