The drama came to an end after day long activities during which Kejriwal’s counsel visited him in Tihar Jail and conveyed to the Delhi High Court that the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader has given consent to its suggestion and agreed to file the bail bond.
Kejriwal had earlier refused to furnish a bail bond before the court on the ground that it was against the principles of AAP to furnish bail bond in a case of political nature.
The proceedings, which started before a bench of justices Kailash Gambhir and Sunita Gupta at around 11 am, ended in the court of Metropolitan Magistrate Gomati Manocha at 5.15 pm when the counsel representing Kejriwal told her that the AAP leader has signed the personal bond and was ready to file it.
“It is also submitted that Arvind Kejriwal has written in his own handwriting that he is filing the personal bond in compliance with the high court order. In view of this, the personal bond furnished is accepted,” the magistrate said.
“Let the accused be released forthwith,” she said. During the hearing which began in the jampacked courtroom of high court, the bench advised senior counsel Shanti Bhushan and advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for Kejriwal, to ask their client to furnish a bond and later raise whatever legal issues he wants to once he comes out of jail.
The bench thereafter allowed Kejriwal’s lawyers to meet and apprise him about the court’s suggestion to furnish bail bond which would be subject to final outcome of the legal issues raised by him. It also advised Kejriwal not to make it a “prestige issue”.
To this, Kejriwal’s lawyer told the bench that they would like to meet their client in the jail after which the hearing was postponed till 3 pm. As soon as the hearing resumed, the court queried as to what was Kejriwal’s response on the suggestion of the bench. “He (Kejriwal) has agreed,” Prashant Bhushan told the court, adding, he has signed a bond of Rs 10,000 and showed his handwritten note to the bench.
The bench then asked Kejriwal’s lawyers to present the bond before the magistrate concerned today itself, adding that furnishing of the same would be subject to final outcome of the legal issues raised by him.
After taking the high court’s order, Kejriwal’s lawyers rushed to the Patiala House courts to furnish the personal bond. Advocate Rahul Mehra, who appeared for Kejriwal, told the court that their writ petition is pending before high court and Kejriwal has agreed to file the bond.
The magistrate accepted the bond filed by Kejriwal’s counsel and ordered that the former Delhi Chief Minister be released forthwith.
Meanwhile, the high court today issued notices to Gadkari and the Delhi government seeking their responses on Kejriwal’s plea for his immediate release on the ground that his detention was illegal.
It has now fixed the matter for final disposal on July 31 when it will hear arguments on the issue of maintainability of Kejriwal’s plea. Kejriwal was sent to judicial custody by the magistrate on May 21 for two days.
On May 23, his custody was extended by 14 days till June 6 after he refused to furnish a bail bond when he was granted bail in the case.
The magistrate had refused to review its May 21 order remanding Kejriwal in judicial custody for not furnishing the bail bond and had asked him to approach the higher court, challenging the decision.
Kejriwal was summoned as an accused on February 28 by the court in connection with the complaint in which Gadkari had alleged that he was defamed by Kejriwal, who had included his name in the party’s list of “India’s most corrupt”.
On May 21, the court had granted bail to Kejriwal, saying the offence under section 500 of IPC (dealing with defamation) was bailable and had asked him to furnish a personal bond. He, however, was taken into custody after he refused to give the bail bond, saying the case was politically motivated and he does not wish to seek bail. He had said that he was ready to give an undertaking that he would appear in the court whenever required.
Kejriwal had approached high court seeking his immediate release from jail contending that bail bond is not necessary in summons case when accused appears and is accompanied by his lawyer.
During the hearing, the high court questioned Kejriwal’s lawyers as to how a habeus corpus plea is applicable against a judicial order. The same objection was raised by senior advocate Pinky Anand, appearing for Gadkari. She also contended the petition was not maintainable.
Anand argued that under the law every person is required to furnish bail bond in such cases to ensure his presence and no differential treatment should be given to anyone. She said that more than 50 other AAP members, arrested for protesting outside Tihar Jail over Kejriwal being sent there, had furnished bail bonds.
She also objected to Kejriwal’s conduct in jail for having written an open letter questioning the magisterial orders sending him to judicial custody. Kerjiwal’s lawyers argued that the habeus corpus plea is maintainable as his detention was “totally illegal”.
They also said that only someone in custody is required to seek bail. They argued that Kejriwal had appeared in pursuance to court summons and was accompanied by a lawyer and, therefore, there was no need for him to furnish bail, especially when he was willing to give an undertaking.
They said in four other identical matters, magistrates have let the accused go on furnishing an undertaking. They also said the requirement of pre-trial bail in the current situation is an antiquated practice which is absent in socially developed and forward nations like the US. When accused is present in court with counsel in pursuance to its summons then there is no authority to direct him to furnish bail bond, they said.