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Bribery remarks: Kejriwal moves HC seeking stay on EC orders

Bribery remarks: Kejriwal moves HC seeking stay on EC orders

New Delhi: Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal moved the Delhi High Court Friday, seeking a stay of two Election Commission (EC) orders by which the poll panel had censured him and later ordered lodging of an FIR against him for his bribery remarks during campaigning for the Goa Assembly election.

The plea was listed before Justice Yogesh Khanna, but could not be taken up as the judge was not available, and was put up for hearing on December 18.

In his application, filed through advocates Rishikesh Kumar and Mohammad Irshad, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) convenor has claimed that the two EC orders of January 21, 2017 and January 29, 2017 were "arbitrary and whimsical" and curtailed his "fundamental right of freedom of speech".

The application for an interim stay was filed in the main petition, in which Kejriwal has sought setting aside of the two orders of the poll panel.

In the main matter, the court had on July 30 closed the EC's right to reply to the petition, saying it had failed to file its response, despite repeated opportunities.

The poll panel had earlier orally told the high court that only a complaint case against Kejriwal was pending in a Goa court for his alleged bribery remarks at election rallies in the state on January 7-8 last year and no FIR was lodged as directed by the EC.

During his series of rallies in Goa on January 7-8, 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.

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