The Supreme Court on Friday agreed to list for hearing on April 5 a plea by 14 opposition parties, led by the Congress, alleging arbitrary use of central probe agencies against political opponents.
A bench headed by Chief Justice DY Chandrachud took note of the submissions of senior advocate Abhishek Singhvi, appearing for the opposition parties, and said the plea would be taken up for hearing on April 5.
"I am asking for the guidelines for the future. This is a remarkable convergence of 14 parties against the misuse of the agencies, both CBI and ED," Singhvi said, and claimed that 95 per cent cases of the Central Bureau of Investigation(CBI) and the Enforcement Directorate(ED) are against the leaders of opposition.
The senior lawyer referred to the rise in the number of cases filed by the CBI and ED after the NDA government came to power in 2014.
"Second statistics, pre-2014 and post-2014. There is a humongous jump in cases. The rate of conviction is four to five per cent. We are asking for pre-arrest guidelines and post-arrest bail guidelines," Singhvi said.
Sources close to the deliberations which led to the filing of the common plea by 14 political parties said Delhi Chief Minister and AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal played an important role in persuading other opposition leaders for moving the top court jointly.
The plea alleged there is an alarming rise in the use of coercive criminal processes against opposition political leaders and other citizens exercising their fundamental right to dissent.
"Investigating agencies such as CBI and ED are being increasingly deployed in a selective and targeted manner with a view to completely crush political dissent and upend the fundamental premises of a representative democracy," a statement issued on behalf of a petitioner alleged.
The plea filed through lawyer Shadan Farasat cited some statistics and said they demonstrated a "shocking and unconstitutional state of affairs".
Besides the Congress, other parties who are part of the joint move are the DMK, RJD, BRS, Trinamool Congress, AAP, NCP, Shiv Sena (UBT), JMM, JD(U), CPI(M), CPI, Samajwadi Party and the J&K National Conference, the statement said.
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