Delhi court dismisses Arvind Kejriwal plea seeking permission to hold five meetings a week with legal team

A Delhi court recently rejected a plea by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal seeking permission to hold five meetings a week with his legal team instead of two meetings which he was allowed previously.

Delhi Rouse Avenue Court’s Special Judge Kaveri Baweja said that Arvind Kejriwal, instead of using the meetings for discussing litigation strategy with his lawyers, was using it for giving directions to be passed on to the Water Minister.

The court in its order remarked that the applicant has failed to satisfy the court that he has been using the two permitted legal meetings per week solely for the purpose of discussing the pending litigations with his counsels. It added that the status report/note filed by the investigating agency indicates that the applicant had dictated certain directions for being passed on to the Water Minister, to one of his lawyers during the course of a legal meeting.

While dismissing the plea, the court remarked that it appears that the Chief Minister is not even utilizing the permitted two legal interviews per week with his counsel solely for discussing his pending litigation and has rather used the allotted time for purposes other than legal interviews.

CM Arvind Kejriwal is currently under judicial custody in Tihar jail after he was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in a money laundering case connected to the Delhi excise policy scam. He was arrested by the investigation agency on March 21 and then produced before Judge Baweja, who initially remanded him to ED custody till March 28 The ED custody over him was later extended till April 1. Thereafter, the Chief Minister was sent to judicial custody till April 15.

Responding to Kejriwal’s application for five legal meetings a week, Judge Baweja also noted that even Kejriwal had said that there are about 30-35 litigations regarding which he needs to have consultations and discussions with his counsels. Nonetheless, there does not appear to be any objective criteria for assessing whether five meetings with his lawyers per week would be sufficient to address the concern of the accused or that two meetings, which are permitted as per Jail Rules, would be sufficient, the court added.

The court underlined that in the absence of any such objective criteria for assessment, the prayer of the applicant for five legal interviews with his lawyers per week not only appears to be whimsical but also seems to have been made without any statistical basis or objective standards for assessment.

Referring to Delhi High Court’s observations in the case of Amanatullah Khan wherein the Court had said that a public figure is not above the law of the land, Judge Baweja ruled that the Jail Rules which allow only two meetings will be applicable to Kejriwal like any other inmate.

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