No immediate SC relief for Kejriwal on bail, next hearing on June 26

New Delhi, June 24 (UNI) The Supreme Court on Monday refused to offer any immediate relief to Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal who has challenged a Delhi High Court order staying his release on bail granted by a lower court in the Liquor Policy case.

A vacation bench comprising Justice Manoj Misra and SVN Bhatti said, “First let the High Court decide, we cannot judge the High Court which has already heard the matter and has reserved its order.”

The Apex Court posted the matter to June 26, asking Kejriwal to be patient for 24-48 hours till the High Court gives its order.

The High Court’s verdict is likely to be delivered on Tuesday.

The Apex Court Bench said the High Court’s approach to stay the bail order of Kejriwal was “unusual”. In the normal course, stay orders are passed “on the spot” immediately after hearing and not reserved, the Bench remarked.

The Bench was hearing Kejriwal’s petition against the June 21 order passed by the High Court staying the operation of the trial court’s order which granted him bail in the Liquor Policy case.

Senior Advocate Vikram Chaudhary, one of Kejriwal’s lawyers, argued that the Apex Court had granted interim bail to his client on May 10 despite opposition from the Enforcement Directorate (ED).

Chaudhary urged the Bench to release Kejriwal using their discretionary powers in the same way as the High Court had stayed the bail order without even waiting for the order to be uploaded on the trial courts website.

Kejriwal’s lawyers objected to the High Court passing an oral order at 10.30 am itself to halt the bail order as soon as the ED mentioned their petition.

The ED’s petition was filed even before the bail order was uploaded on the lower court’s website and the High Court allowed the urgent listing the same day itself, Senior Advocate Abhishek Singhvi contended.

Additional Solicitor General SV Raju and Solicitor General Tushar Mehta appeared on behalf of the ED.

Kejriwal was granted regular bail by a Special Court at Rouse Avenue on June 20 noting that there was lack of sufficient evidence against Kejriwal in the case.

Special Judge Niyay Bindu granted bail to the Delhi CM on the condition of furnishing a bail bond of Rs One Lakh.

The next day, on June 21, the ED moved an urgent petition in the High Court challenging the Special Judge’s order granting regular bail to Kejriwal.

The ED pleaded that they were not given adequate opportunity by the trial court to oppose the bail plea.

Additional Solicitor General (ASG) SV Raju appearing on behalf of the ED had made an urgent mention before the High Court to stay the bail order of Kejriwal.

High Court’s Vacation Bench of Justice Sudhir Kumar Jain stayed the lower court order passed on June 20 by which it granted regular bail to Kejriwal.

The stay was granted at 10.30 am and later during the day both sides argued the matter extensively.

The High Court reserved its order and directed that the operation of the bail order will stand stayed till the pronouncement of its order. The High Court posted the matter for hearing on Tuesday.

Thereafter, Kejriwal’s legal team filed a petition in the Supreme Court against the High Court’s decision to stay the bail order till Tuesday.

Kejriwal was arrested by ED on March 21 for his alleged role in a money laundering case registered under the provisions of Prevention of Money Laundering Act connected to the alleged Liquor Policy scam suspected to involve over Rs 100 crore bribe.

On May 10, Kejriwal got interim bail from the Supreme Court till June 1 in view of general elections. He surrendered before the court on June 2, after the end of interim bail.

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