Court rejects Delhi CM plea seeking more time with lawyers

| | New Delhi
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Court rejects Delhi CM plea seeking more time with lawyers

Thursday, 11 April 2024 | Staff Reporter | New Delhi

A day after facing a major setback as the Delhi High Court ruled against him in an excise policy case, another Delhi court on Wednesday dismissed Chief Minister and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) supremo Arvind Kejriwal’s application seeking more time with his lawyers, Special judge for CBI and ED cases Kaveri Baweja dismissed the application, saying the relevant rules were applicable equally to him and other inmates and that he allegedly used legal consultations allowed by the court to issue certain administrative directions.

Special judge for CBI and ED cases Kaveri Baweja, while dismissing Kejriwal’s application for five meetings with his lawyers every week, also said he failed to satisfy the court that he had been using the two permitted legal meetings per week solely for the purpose of discussing the pending litigations with his counsel.

“The status report/note filed by the ED indicates that the applicant had dictated certain directions for being passed on to the Water Minister, to one of his lawyers (whose name he refused to disclose to the ED) during the course of a legal meeting. It thus appears that the applicant is not even utilizing the permitted two legal interviews per week with his counsels solely for discussing his pending litigations and has rather used the allotted time for purposes other than legal interviews in the aforesaid manner,” the judge said.

The judge cited a Delhi High Court judgment, which said every citizen of India is entitled to protection of law, which shall also equally apply to him.

The judge dismissed Kejriwal’s submission that about 35 cases were pending against him across the country for which he needed more time with his lawyer for consultation, saying his application was bereft of necessary details of cases, including their number, the nature and stage of proceedings.

“Though, in the course of arguments, it was submitted by counsel for applicant that there are about 30-35 litigations regarding which the applicant needs to have consultations and discussions with his counsels, but, there does not appear to be any objective criteria for assessing if five meetings with his lawyers per week would be sufficient to address the concern of the applicant or that two meetings, which are permitted as per jail rules, are insufficient for this purpose,” the judge said.

“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,” the judge said.

Advocate Vivek Jain, representing Kejriwal, argued that the current allowance of half an hour twice a week for him to understand and provide instructions is insufficient, considering the 35 to 40 ongoing cases against him.  Jain highlighted that there are about 35 to 40 cases pending against Kejriwal, asserting that one hour per week is insufficient for a person to understand and provide instructions in legal matters.

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