SC setback for Kejriwal in bail petition listing

Kejriwal, who is currently campaigning for his party in Punjab, said he is proud of going to jail to save his country

NEW DELHI: In a setback to Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, the Supreme Court registry on Wednesday refused the urgent listing of his petition seeking a seven-day extension of his interim bail for undergoing medical tests, stating the plea is not maintainable as the AAP supremo was given liberty to move the trial court for regular bail. Later in the day, Kejriwal, who is currently campaigning for his party in Punjab, said he is proud of going to jail to “save” his country.

“I am ready to go back to jail again on June 2. And I am proud that I am going to jail to save my country," he said during a rally in Jalandhar, Punjab.

The apex court refused to accept Mr. Kejriwal’s application on grounds of maintainability. The Delhi CM’s interim bail is due to expire on June 1, and he has been directed by the top court to surrender before the jail authorities on June 2. The last leg of the seven-phase polls will be over on June 1.

Hitting out at Mr. Kejriwal, Delhi BJP chief Virendra Sachdeva said, “People are amazed to see him campaigning in 49-degree temperature while on the other hand he is shamefully claiming to be suffering from dangerous diseases. It is regrettable to see Mr. Kejriwal splurging taxpayers’ money on his frivolous bail applications.”

In his petition, Mr. Kejriwal had pleaded for an extension of his interim bail by seven days to undergo a host of medical tests, including a PET-CT scan, in view of his "sudden and unexplained weight loss coupled with high ketone levels," which are indicative of kidney issues, serious cardiac ailments, and even cancer.

On Tuesday, a vacation bench of the apex court said the Chief Justice of India would decide on the urgent listing of Mr. Kejriwal's plea seeking an extension of his interim bail by seven days for undergoing medical tests as the verdict in the main case is already reserved.

Refusing to list the AAP supremo’s interim plea on its own, the vacation bench of Justices JK Maheshwari and KV Viswanathan asked Senior Advocate Abhishek Singhvi, representing the chief minister, why it was not mentioned last week when Justice Dipankar Datta, one of the judges of the main bench headed by Justice Sanjiv Khanna, which had granted the interim bail, was sitting on the vacation bench.

The top court asked Mr. Singhvi: "Why did you not mention it when Justice Datta was sitting on the vacation bench last week? Let the Hon'ble CJI take a decision as it raises the issue of propriety. We will send it to the CJI."In its order, the top court said, "Since the bench of Justices Khanna and Datta, which granted interim bail till June 1 to Mr. Kejriwal, have reserved the verdict on the main petition, it would be appropriate to place his time extension application before the CJI for appropriate orders."In his plea, Mr. Kejriwal said he wishes to surrender before jail authorities on June 9, instead of June 2, the scheduled date for his return to prison.

The plea said: "The appellant prays for an extension of his interim bail by a week, during which the appellant can get the prescribed tests done and obtain results of the same. The appellant will get all these tests done in the working week from June 3 (Monday) to June 7 (Friday) and then surrender on the weekend, i.e., June 9."The latest plea by Mr. Kejriwal before the apex court said during the incarceration from March 21 to May 10, the chief minister suffered a lot of health-related complications, which are also "partly attributable to the negligent and callous behavior of the jail authorities."

Mr. Kejriwal lost around six to seven kg of weight in jail and has not been able to regain it even after his release and renewing his earlier lifestyle to the extent possible, the petition said."In the meantime, recent test reports confirm that the appellant has also developed an unusually high blood glucose level as well as high ketone levels in urine, which indicate that in addition to increased blood sugar levels, the appellant may have also developed kidney-related complications and kidney damage," the plea added.

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