SC refuses to entertain plea of 14 parties complaining against arbitrary arrests of Opposition leaders by CBI & ED

New Delhi: Supreme Court in its order on Wednesday refused to entertain a petition filed jointly by 14 political parties, led by Congress, complaining against arbitrary arrests of Opposition leaders by CBI & ED, and demanding a fresh set of guidelines governing the arrest & remand.

A bench of the Top Court, led by the Chief Justice of India (CJI) Dr Dhananjaya Yeshwant Chandrachud passed the order and refused to entertain the plea filed by 24 opposition political parties.

The apex Court said that it will not entertain the petition filed by 14 political parties. “You come with specific cases, we will deal with it. We cannot lay down law in abstract on basis of certain statistics,” the Top Court said, in its order.

The 14 opposition political parties told the Supreme Court that under the present Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Govt, a situation of undeclared emergency is prevailing within India.

Senior lawyer, Dr Abhishek Manu Singhvi, appearing for the India National Congress (INC) led opposition political parties, told the Supreme Court that there is an increase in 6 times of ED and CBI cases against political leaders and specifically opposition political parties and leaders.

Dr Singhvi said that these agencies — CBI, and ED — are being allegedly used by the ruling BJP Govt to jail opposition leaders for extended periods. The ED had registered around 209 cases in 2013-14. These increased to 1,180 in 2021-22. From 2014 onwards, 121 political leaders are under investigation, over 95% have been from the Opposition parties.

Dr Singhvi said that 885 prosecution complaints have been filed. The conviction is only 23, from 2004 to 2014, roughly half half were investigated.

“From 2014 to 2022, for ED, 121 Political leaders have been probed, of which 95% are from opposition,” Dr Singhvi said.

Dr Singhvi said that if the statistics show a skewed application of law which has a chilling effect, an harassing effect, I am seeking guidelines for this.

“14 political parties representing approximately 42% of the electorate, if they are affected, the people are affected. These are parties across the spectrum,” Dr Singhvi told the SC.

During the course of the hearing, the Supreme Court observed that politicians cannot be placed on a pedestal higher than citizens. They can’t seek special treatment under law and immunity from arrest. “Politicians are citizens and can’t enjoy any higher protection,” the Top Court said.

Dr Singhvi pleaded to the court that the political parties are not seeking retrospecive application of SC ruling on the guidelines for arrest. To this the Apex Court said, aggrieved individual politicians can approach court for appropriate remedy.

The plea of the 14 parties said that there is an alarming rise in cases against opposition leaders and agencies are being used by the ruling party to crush political opposition.

The 14 opposite political parties who had moved the Supreme Court are: Congress (INC), DMK, RJD, BRS, TMC, AAP, NCP, Shiv Sena Udhav, JMM, JDU, CPI, CPM, SP, National Conference.

The 14 parties, led by the Congress, alleged that there is arbitrary use of central probe agencies by the BJP Govt against opposition leaders and seeking guidelines for the future.

These opposition political parties had moved the Supreme Court on March 24, complaining against the misuse of law enforcing agencies by the Union government to arrest political opponents.

Dr Singhvi, said that the parties are seeking laying down of guidelines for pre-arrest procedure to be followed by probe agencies and post-arrest procedure to be followed by prosecutors and courts.

The 14 political parties are seeking laying down of guidelines by the SC for law enforcing agencies and courts on arrest and remand, Dr Singhvi said.


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