Aam Aadmi Party chief Arvind Kejriwal agreed to back down from his “on principle opposition” and furnished a personal bond before a Magistrate on Tuesday evening, after being censured by the Delhi High Court for “making a prestige issue” out of a court procedure. He was released from Tihar Jail on Tuesday evening.
“This is an option that the court is giving you. Give the personal bond and complete the procedure seeking his release. We will look into the legal issues you have raised,” the High Court bench of Justice Kailash Gambhir and Justice Sunita Rani told Kejriwal’s counsel on Tuesday morning.
The bench was hearing Kejriwal’s plea against a lower court order, which had sent him to jail on May 21 for not furnishing a personal bail bond after being summoned as an accused in a defamation case filed by BJP leader Nitin Gadkari.
The court also questioned Kejriwal’s lawyers as to why they had not advised him to follow procedure and then challenge the rules before the High Court.
“Why do you want him to stay in jail till the matter is decided? This is a small case which has been made big. Why are you taking this as a prestige issue?” the court said.
Kejriwal had filed a plea alleging that he had been “illegally” detained. During arguments before the court on Tuesday, advocates Shanti Bhushan and Prashant Bhushan argued that “millions of people” had been “unfairly incarcerated” after being unable to furnish personal bail bonds even through they were accompanied by a lawyer and should not have been asked to do so.
The AAP has argued that there was no need to demand a bond and the court should release Kejriwal on an undertaking that he would remain present before the court.
Gadkari’s counsel Pinki Anand said the AAP leaders “wanted special laws” to apply to them, and were “refusing to follow procedure”.
The court directed Kejriwal’s lawyers to meet him at Tihar Jail to get his consent on the personal bond issue. The lawyers were granted special permission to meet Kejriwal outside of jail visiting hours. After the meeting, Kejriwal agreed to furnish the personal bond. The lawyers were then directed to approach the Metropolitan Magistrate at the Patiala House courts to submit the bond and complete the formalities by Tuesday evening.