The Supreme Court on Monday extended its interim stay on proceedings against Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal in a case registered against him for allegedly making objectionable remarks against the BJP and the Congress in Uttar Pradesh during the 2014 parliamentary election campaign.
Kejriwal has moved the apex court against an order of the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court that had in January declined to discharge the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) chief in the criminal case pending before a trial court at Sultanpur.
In the FIR, Kejriwal has been charged under Section 125 of the Representation of the People (RP) Act, 1951, which pertains to promoting enmity between classes in connection with elections.
An apex court bench of justices K M Joseph and B V Nagarathna deferred the hearing on the matter, noting that a letter for adjournment has been circulated by the Uttar Pradesh government seeking more time to file its reply.
“Put it in … the third week of July. Interim order will continue,” the bench said.
Kejriwal had allegedly said that “Joh Congress ko vote dega, mera maanna hoga, desh ke saath gaddari hogi…. Joh Bhajapa (BJP) ko vote dega use khuda bhi maaf nahin karega (Those who will vote for the Congress will be betraying the nation, and God will not forgive those who will vote for the BJP).”
In his plea filed in the apex court through advocate Vivek Jain, Kejriwal has said the petition raises some important questions of law, including whether a case under Section 125 of the Act can be made out without there being any video clip or full transcript of the alleged speech.
The plea said it has been alleged that during an election campaign on May 2, 2014 for the Lok Sabha polls, the AAP chief, while delivering a speech, had uttered some sentences which amount to the commission of offence under Section 125 of the Act.
The plea said two days after the alleged utterances by the AAP leader, a complaint was filed on May 4, 2014 in the matter.
Though the “belated complaint alleged a violation of only the Model Code of Conduct, the police instead registered the FIR on the very same day under section 125 RP Act. This was done without any independent inquiry by the police. This clearly shows a bias and the action taken post-haste by the police”, it said.
The plea said it is the petitioner’s case that there is no proof or evidence that he had in fact made such alleged utterance and hence, the very basic foundational evidence to prosecute him is absent in the matter.
It further said, “Merely mentioning of God (Khuda) cannot amount to promoting enmity and hatred between different classes of citizens.”
“Alleged utterance by the petitioner does not refer to any particular caste or religion and hence, by no stretch of imagination such an alleged utterance can promote the feeling of enmity or hatred amongst different classes of citizens,” it said.
The plea said Kejriwal had not referred to any religion or caste but only a political party and a political party cannot be considered as a class of citizens for the purpose of Section 125 of the Act.