Expeditiously decide bail plea of Anil Deshmukh, SC to Bombay HC

The Supreme Court on Monday expressed its discontent over the delay in hearing the bail plea of former Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh, who was arrested in a money laundering case, and directed the Bombay High Court to hear and expeditiously decide the matter.

A bench of Justices D.Y. Chandrachud and Hima Kohli noted that Deshmukh’s bail plea was pending in the high court since March 21, and said that a person who filed a bail application has a legitimate expectation that his plea will be disposed of by the court concerned at an early date.

Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, representing Deshmukh, sought interim bail saying that the hearing on the bail plea is being deferred. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the Enforcement Directorate, opposed Deshmukh’s plea seeking interim bail, saying that he top court should not pass any such order.

The top court noted that keeping a bail plea pending is not consistent with the Right to Life under Article 21 of the Constitution. After hearing arguments, it said: “We issue a direction and permit the petitioner to apply before the judge, to whom the case has been assigned, tomorrow.”

The bench said the application should be taken up for hearing during this week and also decided expeditiously, and clarified that it has not expressed any opinion on the merits of the case.

The ED had arrested Deshmukh in November 2021 and he is currently in judicial custody.

The high court, in April, had adjourned the hearing on Deshmukh’s bail application, criticising the practice of seeking urgent hearings on bail applications citing medical emergencies. Deshmukh had moved the high court after a special court rejected his bail plea earlier. He had termed the ED’s case false and frivolous.

According to ED, Deshmukh misused his official position and collected money from various bars in Mumbai through police officer Sachin Waze, who has been dismissed.

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