Arvind Kejriwal withdraws plea challenging Delhi High Court’s interim stay order from Supreme Court

A Vacation Bench permitted the Delhi CM to file a fresh petition challenging the Delhi High Court’s stay

In the latest chapter in the Kejriwal saga, today the Delhi Chief Minister withdrew his plea from the Supreme Court. He was challenging an interim stay order by the Delhi High Court preventing his release on bail. The bail was granted to him by a trial court last week. The High Court’s interim stay was issued on 21 June 2024 and was meant to remain in effect until the High Court delivered its final judgement. 

Here’s what happened:

Arvind Kejriwal was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate for his alleged involvement in the Delhi Liquor policy scam in March 2024. He first moved the Supreme Court challenging his arrest in April 2024.

On 10 May 2024, a Division Bench of the Supreme Court granted him interim bail ahead of the Lok Sabha polling in DeIhi. Before breaking for summer vacation, the same bench also reserved judgement in his plea on challenging his arrest under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002. The order stated that he could apply for bail in the appropriate court. 

Subsequently, a trial court in Delhi heard Kejriwal’s plea and granted him bail on 20 June 2024.

The very next day, the ED approached the Delhi High Court against the bail order and the High Court issued an interim stay on it.

Kejriwal moved the Supreme Court against the Delhi High Court’s order. On 24 June, a Vacation Bench comprising Justices Manoj Misra and S.V. Bhatti heard his plea. The Bench remarked that it was “unusual” for the High Court to stay a bail order. The judge’s reasoned that they wanted to read the full order of the High Court before arriving at any decision and listed the case to be heard on 26 June 2024.

In the meantime, on 25 June, the High Court decided to maintain the stay on Kejriwal’s bail order.

Today, at approximately 11:10 am—just minutes before the hearing at the Supreme Court, Kejriwal was arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation. 

Singhvi: Will appeal both orders 

In the hearing today, Senior Advocate Dr. Abhisek Manu Singhvi, representing Kejriwal, expressed his intention to withdraw the plea from the Court in view of the day’s developments. He stated that he had “no option” but to challenge the two stay orders of the Delhi High Court in a “properly constituted” Special Leave Petition (SLP), which will include new grounds and a fresh prayer.

Singhvi highlighted that the High Court stayed the bail order orally and at the “mentioning stage,” itself without properly hearing the arguments in the case. The actual arguments, he pointed out, were heard by the High Court only after imposing the interim stay.

The Bench allowed Singhvi to withdraw the plea and granted him the liberty to file an SLP afresh.