New Delhi News: The Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal filed by fourteen political parties that claimed the Central government led by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was misusing central agencies like Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and Enforcement Directorate (ED) against leaders of opposition parties.
A bench of Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud and Justice JB Pardiwala said that political leaders do not enjoy any immunity higher than common citizens.
The court demanded "So someone collects crores from common pensioners, no payment made and so multiple FIRs are filed...and the case comes here. Can we say that there can be no arrest here? Once we accept that political leaders are absolutely on same footing as common citizens with no higher immunity.. then how can we say there can be no arrests unless there is a three pronged test which is satisfied,"
The Chief Justise of India DY Chandrachud said, "You are trying to extrapolate the statistics into solid legal guidelines. So now these statistics only relates to the politicians".
The bench added that anyone who feels wronged can seek justice in court through the legal channels available to them, but without considering the particulars of each case no rule can be overrided.
"How can we start laying down guidelines in abstract context. Laying down general guidelines de hors the facts of the case cannot be done. If an individual comes to us, then the law can be laid down as highest court of the country.. it is in context facts of the case and also a general law. (But) we need to have facts in a case or group of cases," the Court said and refused the plea by adding "Sorry we cannot entertain this".
The 14 political parties who filed the petition were Indian National Congress (INC), Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), Bharat Rasthra Samithi (BRS), All Indian Trinamool Congress (TMC), Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), Shiv Sena (UBT), JMM, JD(U), Communist Party of India (Marxist), CPI, Samajwadi Party, J&K National Conference.
The petition that was filed by the 14 political parties had put a light on an alarming rise in the use of coercive criminal processes against the Opposition political leaders and other citizens exercising their fundamental right to dissent and disagree with the central government.
The petition filed by advocate Shadan Farasat said that, investigating agencies such as the CBI and ED are being increasingly deployed in a selective and targeted manner with a view to completely crush political dissent and upend the fundamental premises of a representative democracy.
The petitioners seek and requested the court for triple test to be used by police officers and ED officials where arrest and remand are in practice on the offenses like tempering of evidence or influencing of witness and courts alike for the arrest of persons in any cognisable offences except those involving serious bodily violence.
If these condions are satified in the nature of law, alternatives like interrogation at fixed hours or at the most house arrest be used to meet the demands of investigation, added the plea. - Chirag Kaul