17 Feb 2023 10:40 AM GMT
In a temporary relief to Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, the Supreme Court on Friday stayed the trial proceedings in a 2014 case registered against him for allegedly saying "those who believe in 'Khuda' won't be pardoned by 'Khuda' if they vote for BJP" during an election campaign.Kejriwal had approached the Supreme Court challenging the the order passed by the Allahabad High Court...
In a temporary relief to Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, the Supreme Court on Friday stayed the trial proceedings in a 2014 case registered against him for allegedly saying "those who believe in 'Khuda' won't be pardoned by 'Khuda' if they vote for BJP" during an election campaign.
Kejriwal had approached the Supreme Court challenging the the order passed by the Allahabad High Court in January which rejected his plea for discharge. Earlier, Sultanpur Court had dismissed his discharge application.
On Friday, a bench comprising Justices KM Joseph and BV Nagarathna stayed the trial proceedings, while issuing notice on Kejriwal's petition. Senior Advocate Dr.Abhishek Manu Singhvi appeared for the petitioner. The matter will be heard after five weeks.
During the hearing, the bench expressed disapproval of the statement.
"Why are you bringing God? In a secular country, leave God alone. God doesn't need anyone's protection, he can take care of himself", the bench observed.
Singhvi submitted that the case was filed on the basis of a complaint by a police officer and except police constables, there are no other witnesses. "Sometimes during political campaigning, unintentional things are said", he said while adding that there are no allegations of any law public order problems or communal disharmony happening after the speech.
"Why should he make such statements when he was holding office?", the bench asked to which Singhvi replied that Kejriwal was not holding any office at that time.
“Lordships may stay the proceedings, now that I am the Chief Minister, I will be called to UP every time…The discharge has been dismissed; the whole object is to call me and arrest me. For the time being, your Lordships may give a short date, in the meanwhile, your Lordships may stay the trial”, the senior counsel pleaded.
The case dates back to 2014, when an FIR was lodged against Kejriwal under Section 125 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 for allegedly violating the Model Code of Conduct for making a public statement “Jo Congress ko vote dega, mera manana hoga, desh ke saath gaddari hogi...jo Bhajpa ko vote dega use Khuda bhi muaf nahin karega, des ke sath gaddari hogi" [The one who votes for Congress, I would believe, will be betraying the country... The one who votes for BJP, even God will not forgive him, he will be betraying the country.]
While dismissing his discharge plea, the Allahabad High Court said that it appeared that Kejriwal is threatening the voters in the name of Khuda knowing fully well that if he uses the term ‘Khuda’, some set of voters belonging to different religions might have severely been influenced.
Supreme Court to hear an SLP filed by Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal.— Live Law (@LiveLawIndia) February 17, 2023
Supreme Court to hear an SLP filed by Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal.
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