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Arvind Kejriwal and his struggle to obtain bail has become a good example of the way the Indian judicial system works. In less than the time that he has spent in judicial custody, the former President Donald Trump and President Joe Biden’s son, Hunter, have been found guilty and convicted of the allegations made against them. Even though the principle of granting bail as a first right has been reiterated several times by the Supreme Court, there still remain provisions under certain laws that provide for long periods behind bars while investigations are ongoing. Given the long time cases take up during, both, the investigation and trial periods, those tasked with law enforcement are greatly tempted to use these provisions to ‘take out’ offenders.

It gets worse when politicians, far from conforming to the parliamentary conventions, actually use their position to try and thwart the process of law. With serious cases made out against him, Arvind Kejriwal should have rightly resigned from his position and cooperated with the investigative agencies. That is the usual course taken by innocent persons. Instead, he has been using every technicality in the book to escape provisions of the law, thereby further complicating his situation. The courts cannot be blind to such gaming of the process.

As such, Kejriwal obtaining release on bail would basically give him at least a decade long lease of freedom. Who can say what the situation would be like then and how committed would the ED, etc., be to pursuing the case. However, like anybody else, he still has rights under the law. Nobody would be much concerned about his fate were he not Chief Minister of Delhi. Being out on bail and functioning in the office would compromise his decision making, but that is left to the people at election time, as the courts remain ineffective in delivering final judgements.

And once the investigative agencies fail to bring offenders to book, there is a long line of persons seeking to benefit from the principle of equal treatment under the law – Khalistani terror supporters, dyed in the wool Naxalites, separatists of various kinds, members of crime syndicates, etc. So, while special laws to keep such persons in custody may be legislated by Parliament, the improvements required in the judiciary and investigative agencies remain pending. Perhaps, in his new term, PM Modi should make this reform his first priority. Matters cannot go on in this manner for very long, as it would result in absolute anarchy.