A Delhi court on Friday extended the judicial custody of AAP national convener Arvind Kejriwal until June 6 after he again refused to furnish a personal bail bond in a defamation case filed by BJP leader Nitin Gadkari. While passing the order, the court also chided Kejriwal for his “legal illiteracy”.
Metropolitan Magistrate Gomati Manocha said she would not review her May 21 order, which had sent Kejriwal to Tihar Jail for refusing to furnish a personal bail bond of Rs 10,000.
Rishikesh Kumar, a member of AAP’s legal cell, said “we are likely to challenge this order in the High Court on Monday”.
“I will only request you (Kejriwal’s lawyer) to challenge my order if you want. I have already made up my mind,” the magistrate said, adding that the court was only following procedure. If other AAP leaders could furnish the bond to secure bail, why could Kejriwal not do the same, she asked.
AAP leader Yogendra Yadav on Friday had furnished a personal bond in a different court to secure his release after he was arrested, along with 58 others, for protesting outside Tihar Jail on Wednesday night. The court also asked Kejriwal what his issue was in furnishing the bond as it was similar to an undertaking, except with conditions. “The court cannot follow a different procedure for Kejriwal. It is the same for everyone,” the magistrate said.
While explaining the concept of a personal bail bond, the magistrate said she was aware of the “legal illiteracy” among people but was surprised that even educated persons do not know what a bail bond is.
Kejriwal was represented by lawyers Prashant Bhushan, Shanti Bhushan and Somnath Bharati. Kejriwal, who argued for himself as well, said on May 21, the court had initially said he would be released on an undertaking but later was asked to furnish a bond.
The court replied that were lots of “misunderstanding and miscommunication”. “You were told to give a bond only. You were not told to give Rs 10,000 straight away. I had given you bail but you did not file the bond,” the magistrate said.
During arguments, Kejriwal was about to make a statement against Gadkari. However, Gadkari’s counsel, including Pinki Anand, objected to this. The magistrate asked Kejriwal to refrain from making such statements. “If you think someone is corrupt, there is a procedure. File a complaint,” she said.
The court reminded Kejriwal that he was required to behave in a “sensible” manner as he had held a “higher position” in the government. Kejriwal told the court that he had been released on undertakings in similar cases as well. However, the court responded saying that he was asked only to furnish a bond and that it was a legal procedure.