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Kejriwal unlikely to get any relief from Supreme Court over arrest

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Shailesh Khanduri
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Arvind Kejriwal being taken away by ED after his arrest

Arvind Kejriwal

New Delhi: Considering the similarities in the patterns of the arrests of Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, it is highly unlikely that the Supreme Court will offer any relief to the latter. 

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The AAP moved the Supreme Court on Thursday late evening after the ED arrested Kejriwal. The agency took him to its headquarters in central Delhi.

The arrest, the first of a sitting chief minister, came hours after the Delhi High Court refused to grant protection to the AAP national convenor from any coercive action by the agency.

Last month, Hemant Soren stepped down before his arrest.

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Many chief ministers in the past resigned before their arrest as this has been the norm since several decades in order to protect the honour of the CM post.

How Supreme Court reacted in Soren's case

Last month, the Supreme Court refused to interfere with Soren's arrest by the ED in a money laundering case and asked him to approach the high court.

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A special bench of Justices Sanjiv Khanna, MM Sundresh and Bela M Trivedi asked senior advocates Kapil Sibal and Abhishek Singhvi, appearing for Soren, to seek relief from the high court.

Sibal said, "In these kinds of cases, this court needs to send a message. Here, we are dealing with a chief minister, who has been arrested. Please see the evidence. This is not fair".

Justice Khanna told Sibal, "First, the courts are open to everybody. Second, high courts are also constitutional courts. If we permit one person to approach the apex court, then we will have to permit everyone".

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Sibal, who appeared along with senior advocates Abhishek Singhvi and Arunabh Chowdhury, said, "Your lordships have this discretion. This is a case where that discretion ought to be exercised".

Justice Khanna referred to an earlier order by another bench in which Justice Trivedi was a part.

Justice Trivedi's bench had asked Soren to move the high court in the matter related to challenge to the summons of the ED in the case, Justice Khanna said.

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"You approach the high court. Initially, you filed this petition on the basis that notice under section 50 of the PMLA (Prevention of Money Laundering Act) has been issued. Now, an amendment application has been filed since he has been arrested," Justice Khanna told Sibal.

The senior advocate said in the earlier matter before a bench in which Justice Trivedi was part of, the constitutionality of provisions of the PMLA under which summons were issued by the ED, was challenged.

Singhvi tried to persuade the court for its indulgence in the matter, saying this court has concurrent jurisdiction.

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"There was no necessity to arrest," he said.

The bench, however, was not inclined to entertain the petition and ordered that Soren can approach the high court under Article 226 of the Constitution for relief.

"We are informed that petitioner has already preferred a writ petition before the Jharkhand High Court, which is still pending. It will also be open to him to ask for expeditious listing and disposal of the case," the bench ordered.

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