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Right to campaign neither fundamental nor constitutional’: ED files fresh affidavit in SC opposing Kejriwal’s interim bail

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has vehemently opposed Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s plea for interim bail to campaign in the ongoing Lok Sabha elections, asserting that campaigning is not a fundamental, constitutional, or legal right. The probe agency, which arrested Kejriwal in the liquor policy case on March 21, argues that granting him bail for campaigning would set a wrong precedent as no political leader has ever been granted such relief.

During the Tuesday hearing, the Supreme Court acknowledged Kejriwal’s status as the elected chief minister of Delhi and emphasized that he is not a habitual offender. However, the ED’s affidavit, filed on Thursday, underscores that laws apply equally to all citizens, including elected officials, and that the right to campaign is not legally guaranteed.

The agency highlights that the court, while considering the bail plea of co-accused Manish Sisodia, affirmed the principle of equal treatment under the law. The ED contends that granting interim bail for campaigning would open the floodgates for similar requests from other politicians, undermining the rule of law and allowing “unscrupulous politicians” to evade accountability.

Moreover, the ED argues that campaigning is part of a politician’s job, and extending bail solely for this purpose would create an unfair advantage. It stresses that Kejriwal is not even contesting in the current elections, further questioning the necessity of granting him interim relief.

The Supreme Court, in the previous hearing, indicated its willingness to consider exceptional circumstances for interim bail, regardless of the petitioner’s political status. However, it also questioned the ED’s delay in initiating action against Kejriwal and his party, highlighting concerns about the efficiency of the investigative process.

In essence, the ED’s opposition to Kejriwal’s plea underscores the broader legal and ethical considerations surrounding the issue of interim bail for politicians during election campaigns, emphasizing the need to uphold the principles of equality and accountability in the judicial process.

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