Interim bail granted to Delhi CM


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What’s in today’s article?

  • Why in News?
  • What is Bail?
  • Background of the present case
  • Interim bail to Delhi CM: Analysis

Why in News?

The Supreme Court (SC) granted interim bail to Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. The Delhi CM was arrested on March 21 by the Enforcement Directorate (ED), due to his alleged connection to the Delhi excise policy case.

What is Bail?

  • About
  • The term ‘bail’ is originated from an old French verb ‘bailer’ which means ‘to give’ or ‘to deliver’. 
  • Bail refers to the provisional release of the accused in a criminal case in which the court is yet to announce the judgment. 
  • The term ‘bail’ means the security that is deposited in order to secure the release of the accused.
  • Types of Bail in India: 
  • The Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) does not define the word bail.
  • Depending upon the stage of the criminal matter, there are commonly three types of bail in India:
  • Regular Bail
    • A regular bail is generally granted to a person who has been arrested or is in police custody. 
    • A bail application can be filed for the regular bail under section 437 and 439 of CrPC.
  • Interim Bail
    • This type of bail is granted for a short period of time and it is granted before the hearing for the grant of regular bail or anticipatory bail.
  • Anticipatory Bail
    • Anticipatory bail is granted under section 438 of CrPC either by session court or High Court. 
    • An application for the grant of anticipatory bail can be filed by the person who discerns that he may be arrested by the police for a non- bailable offence.

Background of the present case

  • Delhi Excise Policy 2021-22 and associated controversy
    • Also known as the new liquor policy, the Delhi Excise Policy 2021-22 was implemented on November 17, 2021. 
    • It changed how liquor was sold in the city — with the government withdrawing from the business and allowing only private operators to run liquor shops.
    • Later, various enquiries alleged that kickbacks were received by the Delhi government and its leaders from owners and operators of alcohol businesses for preferential treatment.
      • These kickbacks were used to influence the Assembly elections held in Punjab and Goa in early 2022.
  • ED summons and subsequent arrest
    • The Delhi Chief Minister skipped 9 summons, issued by the ED in connection to the excise policy case.
      • The ED claimed that the CM was the kingpin and key conspirator on the Delhi excise scam.
    • Later, on March 21, he was arrested by the ED. 
  • Supreme Court hearing and interim bail
    • After the Delhi High Court rejected the petition challenging the arrest of Delhi CM, he approached to the SC.
    • The SC Bench on May 10 decided to grant Kejriwal interim bail until June 1, the day that voting for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections will close.
  • Bail conditions 
    • The Court has, however, placed certain conditions for Delhi CM’s interim bail.
      • he shall not visit the Office of the Chief Minister and the Delhi Secretariat;
      • he shall not sign official files unless it is required and necessary for obtaining clearance/approval of the Lieutenant Governor of Delhi;
      • he will not make any comment with regard to his role in the present case;
      • he will not interact with any of the witnesses and/or have access to any official files connected with the case.

Interim bail to Delhi CM: Analysis

  • A level playing field in elections
    • The Supreme Court allowed Delhi Chief Minister to get temporary bail so he can campaign for elections. 
    • This decision is unusual and aims to make sure everyone has a fair chance in elections. 
  • Opens the door for more such interventions
    • It might potentially open the door for other political detainees. 
    • Former Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren, who was arrested on January 31 in a money laundering case, has a bail application pending in the High Court. 
    • The state will vote in the last four phases of the Lok Sabha elections starting May 13.
  • New precedent
    • The Supreme Court’s order sets a new precedent for dealing with political needs during elections. 
    • Before this, the Supreme Court usually only confirmed bail given by High Courts during trials, not temporary bail needed for special situations.
  • Right to campaign debate
    • Many analysts criticize the judgement by saying that the right to campaign for an election is neither a fundamental nor a constitutional right, and not even a legal right.

They rely on the Delhi High Court’s 2017 decision in Election Commission vs Mukthar Ansari to support this position.

Q.1. What is Enforcement Directorate (ED)? 

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) is a law enforcement and economic intelligence agency in India that enforces economic laws and fights economic crimes. It is part of the Department of Revenue in the Ministry of Finance, Government of India.

Q.2. What is Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC)?

The Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) is a procedural law in India that outlines the steps for enforcing criminal laws. It was enacted in 1973 and came into effect on April 1, 1974.

Source: Arvind Kejriwal released on interim bail: the case so far, what now | Frontline | Indian Express