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Can Kejriwal run the government of Delhi from jail?

March 24, 2024 4:25 am

জেলে থেকে কি দিল্লির সরকার চালাতে পারবেন কেজরিওয়াল?

An Indian court has ordered Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal to be kept in the custody of the Enforcement Directorate till March 28 after his arrest.

He was produced in a Delhi court by the Enforcement Directorate or ED on Friday.

Before going to the court, Kejriwal told reporters, “My life is dedicated to the country – whether I am outside the jail or inside it.”

Earlier, the ED wants to present the evidence against Kejriwal in the Rs 100 crore excise corruption case and remand him in custody for ten days. ED also claimed in the court that he is the main accused in the excise corruption case.

Arvind Kejriwal’s lawyer has claimed that all the allegations leveled against him are baseless.

On the other hand, Kejriwal’s lawyer approached the Supreme Court challenging the decision to arrest him. However, later it was decided to withdraw the case and appeal to the lower court.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal was arrested on Thursday (March 21) night on charges of irregularities in the Delhi government’s new excise policy.

Earlier, prominent Aam Aadmi Party leaders like former Delhi Health Minister Satyendra Jain, former Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia and Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh were arrested. Now the biggest question is, when all the top leaders of Aam Aadmi Party are in jail, how will the government of Delhi run? And how will the Aam Aadmi Party fare especially when the Lok Sabha polls are imminent in India?

Top leaders are all in jail, how will the Delhi government run?

In the absence of Arvind Keriwal, the biggest challenge for the party is to find the right leadership to handle the government and the party in Delhi.

Kejriwal’s close ministers and supporters in the state government and the Aam Aadmi Party have already told reporters that Kejriwal will not resign as chief minister.

Delhi minister Atishi, who goes by this name, said he (Kejriwal) would take charge from jail if necessary.

He said, if necessary, he will run the government from jail. The law cannot prevent him from running the government from jail, as he has not been convicted.

Meanwhile, Kejriwal was earlier summoned by the ED several times. He has always accused the summons as ‘unconstitutional’ and has been refusing to appear. He has always said that the BJP government wants to “corner” his party.

After Arvind Kejriwal’s arrest on Thursday, his party also made the same claim.

Meanwhile, the Lok Sabha polls are imminent in India. Kejriwal was scheduled to start campaigning in Delhi, Punjab, Haryana and Gujarat.

After the Delhi Chief Minister’s arrest, the discussion about who will lead the party’s campaign is intense.

Now the names that have come up in the list of possible names are Arvind Kejriwal’s wife Sunita Kejriwal, Delhi Minister Atishi and Saurabh Bhardwaj.

Is it possible to fulfill the duties of the Chief Minister from jail?

Legal and prison experts say there is no legal bar. Lawyer and prison expert Smita Chakraborty said, there is no obstacle to running the government if a person who is not convicted can run the government while in jail. But he cannot come out of jail.

Meanwhile, a PIL was filed in the Delhi High Court on Friday seeking his removal as Chief Minister. However, there is no provision in the Indian Constitution that any Chief Minister arrested in a criminal case should step down. There is no provision in the law to compel him to resign. The incumbent Chief Minister can be removed only if he is convicted on charges leveled against him. Hence, there is no legal impediment to his continuing as Chief Minister.

Senior lawyer Klein Gonzalves said there is no obstacle in running the government according to Indian law. Because the sentence was not based on the complaint. While in prison he may be restricted in his freedom of movement, but not in work.

He explained that he can use his free time to work and meet with officials while in jail, according to the rules. But there is no obstacle to do all these things according to the rules. But how realistic is the government in this situation? “It’s not that unrealistic,” said Mr. González. Now the question is how much it will be possible depends on him.

Incidentally, Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren recently resigned before being arrested by the ED on corruption charges. Later Champai Soren replaced him.

The then Bihar Chief Minister Lalu Yadav installed his wife Rabri Devi in his post before he was arrested in the fodder scam. But Arvind Kejriwal’s case is different.

Source: BBC Bangla

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