Chief Justice To Decide On Arvind Kejriwal's Urgent "Extend Bail" Plea

Arvind Kejriwal interim bail: Mr Kejriwal's hopes of an immediate hearing were dashed after a vacation bench said it would only forward his plea to Chief Justice DY Chandrachud, who will decide when it will be heard.

Chief Justice To Decide On Arvind Kejriwal's Urgent 'Extend Bail' Plea

Arvind Kejriwal, the Delhi Chief Minister (File).

New Delhi:

The Supreme Court has refused an urgent hearing of Arvind Kejriwal's application to extend his interim bail - on medical grounds - by a week. Arrested in March in the alleged liquor policy scam, the Delhi Chief Minister was granted interim bail this month to campaign for his AAP ahead of the election for Delhi's seven Lok Sabha seats. He was released till June 1 and told to return to Tihar Jail by June 2.

However, Mr Kejriwal's hopes of an immediate hearing were dashed after a vacation bench said it would only forward his plea to Chief Justice DY Chandrachud, who will decide when it will be heard.

"The CJI will take an appropriate decision on listing this plea," the bench of Justice JK Maheshwari and KV Vishwanathan said, noting the verdict in the original case - Mr Kejriwal challenging his arrest by the Enforcement Directorate - had been reserved after the last hearing on May 17.

Mr Kejriwal had sought an urgent hearing for Wednesday.

READ | Kejriwal Leaves Jail After 50 Days, Says "Need To Fight Dictatorship"

The court also seemed a little put out by the timing of the bail extension plea, pointing out it could have been made last week, when Justice Dipankar Datta - who was part of the bench that granted Mr Kejriwal interim bail - was hearing cases. Why did you not mention this...?" the court asked.

As of now Mr Kejriwal must return to jail as ordered (by June 2) or face the court's wrath.

"Kejriwal Suffers Aggressive Form Of Diabetes", Court Told

Earlier, the AAP leader, represented by senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, had pressed for an immediate hearing of his client's plea, arguing that time was needed for more medical tests.

Mr Kejriwal said he would surrender on June 9 (five days after the election results).

"In view of health complications and increased risk signs, a medical examination is necessary to protect him from possible long-term harm to during his prison term," Mr Singhvi stressed, underlining the AAP leader will remain "visible and available in public" while out on bail.

READ | Kejriwal Claims Tihar Officials' "Negligence" Took Toll On His Health

"There is no risk of fleeing the legal process and conditions set by Supreme Court (for interim bail) have been followed..." Mr Kejriwal's lawyer said.

The medical examination Mr Singhvi referred to were ordered by a doctor from a private hospital in the national capital. Tests ordered include PET-CT scan of the whole body. These tests have to be done in an order and require approximately five to seven days to complete, the court was told.

The Tihar Jail, Arvind Kejriwal, Diabetes (And Insulin Shots) Row

Mr Kejriwal is a diabetes patient and needs regular shots of insulin, supply of which in jail became a controversial topic after the AAP claimed he was deliberately deprived of the "life-saving" drug.

READ | "Asking For Insulin Daily": Kejriwal's Letter To Jail Officials

That row also reached the courts after Arvind Kejriwal criticised Tihar jail and ED officials for being "petty" and "politicising" his well-being. The probe agency responded by claiming the Chief Minister had deliberately consumed foods high in sugar - like mangoes and toffees, in alleged violation of a prescribed diet chart - to place his health at risk and establish grounds for medical bail.

READ | AAP Claims "Plan To Kill Kejriwal In Jail" Amid "Eating Mangoes" Row

In today's hearing Mr Kejriwal referred again to jail officials' "insensitive behaviour" and to his "unexplained weight loss", which he called "a symptom of a life-threatening disease".

"My health condition is due partly to the insensitive behaviour of the prison authorities. One more week of bail will allow me to take stock of (possible) health complications," he argued.

READ | Kejriwal Claims Tihar Officials' "Negligence" Took Toll On Health

"My weight has fallen a lot... if a person's weight falls by seven kg in a month without any reason, then it is a very serious problem. So the doctors have prescribed several tests..." Mr Kejriwal said.

Why Was Arvind Kejriwal Arrested?

The probe agency believes the Delhi Chief Minister played a key role in drafting the now-scrapped policy and seeking bribes, or kickbacks, in return for liquor licences. The agency has claimed the AAP received kickbacks of Rs 100 crore that was then used to fund its Goa and Punjab election campaigns.

READ | In A First, AAP Named As Accused In Delhi Liquor Policy Case

The AAP and Mr Kejriwal have refused all charges and called the arrest and case "political vendetta", coming as it did, weeks before the election. The arrest also triggered a political spat between the ruling BJP and the opposition INDIA bloc, which is led by the Congress and of which the AAP is a member.

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