The Delhi High Court today closed the Election Commission’s right to reply to Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s plea against the poll panel’s order to lodge an FIR against him for his alleged bribery remark at poll rallies in Goa on January 7-8 last year, noting that the EC failed to do so despite repeated opportunities.
The court had earlier also noted that despite repeated opportunities, the EC had not filed its response.
Justice V K Rao, after closing the Election Commission’s (EC) right to file a response today, listed the matter for further hearing on February 2 next year.
The poll panel’s lawyer had earlier orally told the court that only a complaint case against Kejriwal was pending in a Goa court for his alleged bribery remarks, but no FIR has been lodged as was directed by EC to the state’s Chief Electoral Officer.
Addressing a series of rallies in Goa, Kejriwal had reportedly asked voters to “accept money from the Congress and BJP candidates but vote for the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP)”.
Kejriwal, in his plea, has alleged that the poll panel’s January 29, 2017 order had curtailed his right to free speech.
The BJP had filed two complaints against Kejriwal seeking his prosecution under various sections of Indian Penal Code for asking voters to accept money. The Congress too had condemned his statement.
The poll panel had, thereafter, directed that a complaint be lodged against the AAP leader under the provisions of the Representation of the People Act dealing with bribing voters and relevant sections of the IPC.