SC extends stay on proceedings against Kejriwal in UP over election law violation

The Supreme Court on Monday extended its interim stay on proceedings against Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal in a case lodged against him for allegedly making objectionable remarks against the BJP and Congress in Uttar Pradesh during the 2014 Lok Sabha poll campaign.

Kejriwal has moved the apex court against an order of the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court which had declined to discharge him in the criminal case pending before a trial court at Sultanpur.

In the FIR, Kejriwal has been accused of an offence under section 125 of the Representation of the People (RP) Act, 1951, which pertains to promoting enmity between classes in connection with elections.

A bench of Justices A S Bopanna and M M Sundresh adjourned the matter after noting there was a request to defer the matter by one of the parties.

“Interim order to continue,” the bench said.

Kejriwal had allegedly said, “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, 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 made by the accused.

The plea said it has been alleged that during an election campaign on May 2, 2014 for the Lok Sabha polls, Kejriwal had uttered some sentences which amount to 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 in the matter.

Though the said complaint alleged 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 the “biasness and the action taken post-haste” by the police, the plea submitted.

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.

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It further said, merely mentioning 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 purposes of section 125 of the Act.

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