The Allahabad High Court on Monday dismissed Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s discharge plea in a 2014 case against him under Section 125 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, Live Law reported. The case was filed against Kejriwal for his alleged remark that “Khuda won’t spare those who vote for the BJP“.
Upholding the Sultanpur court’s order rejecting the Delhi CM’s discharge plea, a bench of Justice Rajesh Singh Chauhan noted that Kejriwal appeared to be “threatening voters in the name of Khuda” knowing fully well that a set of voters belonging to a different religion could be severely influenced by the use of the said term.
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“Jo Congress ko vote dega, mera manana hoga, desh ke saath gaddari hogi…jo Bhajpa ko vote dega use Khuda bhi maaf nahin karega, desh ke sath gaddari hogi (Those who vote for Congress, in may opinion, will be betraying the country… Those who vote for BJP, even Khuda will not pardon them, he will be betraying the country,” Arvind Kejriwal had allegedly said.
An FIR was lodged against Kejriwal under Section 125 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 for allegedly violating the Model Code of Conduct by allegedly making the public statement. A trial court in Sultanpur took cognizance against Kejriwal on September 6, 2014, under Section 125 of the Act, 1951, and summoned him.
Kejriwal eventually moved the High Court as well as the Supreme Court seeking relief in the matter but was referred back to the trial court. The Sultanpur ACJM (Special Judge MP/MLA) court in August 2022 dismissed his discharge plea. In October 2022, Kejriwal filed a plea before the Session Judge challenging the ACJM court order, but was denied relief. He subsequently moved the Allahabad HC for relief, which was denied Monday.
Kejriwal’s counsel argued before the court that he may not be held liable for the offence under Section 125 of the RPA since he neither appealed for votes in the name of religion nor promote enmity between classes of people. It was also argued that the statement was based upon his personal opinion protected under Article 19 of the Constitution as a right to freedom of speech and expression.
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“He (Kejriwal) will have to clarify his opinion before the trial court as to what is his source of knowledge that if any one who believes in ‘Khuda’ casts votes to Bhartiya Janta Party, those would not be pardoned by ‘Khuda’ and as to why this thing would not be applicable for the voters who cast vote to Congress,” Live Law quoted the court as saying.
The court further observed that the statement by Kejriwal was “not so plain and simple” and said that his remarks could heavily influence a certain set of voters.
“For one set of voters, he is uttering the term ‘Gaddar of the country’ and for the other set of voters, he is saying that ‘Khuda shall not pardon them’. Prima facie, it appears that he is threatening the latter voters in the name of Khuda knowing fully well that if he uses the term ‘Khuda’, some set of voters belonging to different religion might have severely been influenced,” the court observed while dismissing his plea and refusing to interfere in the earlier court orders. (With inputs from Live Law)