Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva declined to endorse a draft statement placed before him on behalf of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) convenor and said no court can say what would be a correct statement to be made during election campaigns.
The Delhi High Court Thursday observed that Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s bribery related remarks during the Goa Assembly election campaign in 2017 had made “specific imputations” which were “not appropriate” and suggested that he make generic statements in the upcoming polls here. Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva declined to endorse a draft statement placed before him on behalf of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) convenor and said no court can say what would be a correct statement to be made during election campaigns.
Justice Sachdeva said a court can only opine whether a statement was wrong after it has been made. “There cannot be an endorsement from the court that on what you can say,” the judge said. “Don’t make a statement as specific as you made last time. There were some specific imputations in the statement which were not appropriate. Make a general statement which does not point a finger. Make a generic statement,” the court said.
However, no orders were passed in the matter as Kejriwal’s lawyers sought an adjournment in the post lunch session and the court listed the matter for further hearing on April 24. The court was hearing the AAP leader’s plea challenging the Election Commission’s two orders of 2017, one censuring him for his remarks with a warning that a repeat of the same would lead to action against him and his party and the second directing lodging of an FIR against him for his comments.
During a series of rallies in Goa on January 7-8, 2017, Kejriwal had asked voters to “accept money from the Congress and BJP candidates but vote for the AAP”. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had filed two complaints against the AAP supremo, seeking his prosecution under various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) for asking voters to accept money. The Congress too had condemned the Delhi chief minister’s statement.
The poll panel had, thereafter, directed that a complaint be lodged against Kejriwal under the provisions of the Representation of the People Act dealing with bribing voters and the relevant sections of the IPC.