The Supreme Court on Monday extended its interim stay on the 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 which had last month 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 K M Joseph and B V Nagarathna posted the matter for hearing in the first week of May after no one appeared for the respondents. "Interim order to continue," the bench said. Senior advocate A M Singhvi appeared for Kejriwal in the matter.
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 the 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 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, while delivering a speech, 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, on May 4, 2014 a complaint was filed in the matter.
“Though the said belated complaint alleged violation of only the Model Code of Conduct, however, 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,” 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 purposes of section 125 of the Act.