Delhi High Court Confirms Arvind Kejriwal’s Detention; ECI’s Jurisdiction Excludes Undertrial Rights

Delhi High Court Confirms Arvind Kejriwal’s Detention and dismissed a PIL seeking immediate information provision to the Election Commission of India (ECI). It’s regarding the arrest of a politician during the Model Code of Conduct period. This dismissal was made on the grounds that the plea effectively challenges the arrest of Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.

Notably, CM Kejriwal is currently in judicial custody as per court orders. A division bench led by Acting Chief Justice Manmohan emphasized that the Election Commission does not hold jurisdiction over the rights of undertrial individuals in judicial custody. 

What Happened In The Courtroom?

Justice Manmohan PS Arora echoed this sentiment in the court. He stated that the petition’s direction to provide specific information to the ECI lacked rationale and could undermine existing legal safeguards.

The court, in its detailed order released recently, rejected a petition filed by Amarjeet Gupta, a final-year law student. The court noted that the petition did not directly name Kejriwal. However, it was evident from the political references in the plea that it pertained to him.

The court further clarified that Kejriwal possesses the means to approach appropriate legal proceedings. He has previously filed petitions before both the Delhi High Court and the Supreme Court. The dismissal of a similar PIL earlier in April underscored the court’s position that the petitioner lacked standing to seek relief in criminal proceedings related to Kejriwal.

Judicial Observation on Legal Understanding

In its deliberation, the court highlighted the legal requirement for individuals arrested by law enforcement agencies to be presented before a magistrate within 24 hours. The ongoing incarceration of an arrested individual is permissible only through judicial orders, a process that Kejriwal has undergone.

The court critiqued the petition’s call for the ECI to frame a policy enabling undertrial political figures to campaign virtually during elections. It reiterated that the ECI’s jurisdiction does not extend to the rights of individuals in judicial custody. That’s because these are governed by existing jail manual rules.

Final Words 

Ultimately, the court deemed the petition frivolous, suggesting it was filed with the intention of gaining publicity. Although inclined to impose costs, the court exempted them considering the petitioner’s student status. Consequently, the PIL was dismissed for lacking merit.

This ruling by the Delhi High Court reaffirms the legal principle that certain matters concerning undertrial individuals, such as Arvind Kejriwal, fall outside the purview of the Election Commission and are subject to judicial processes. The dismissal underscores the court’s commitment to upholding legal norms. 

Stay tuned at Kshetry & Associates for more such news information. 

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