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"Public morality demands one must quit": Former SC judge Justice Ajay Rastogi on demands for Arvind Kejriwal's resignation

New Delhi: Former Supreme Court judge Justice Ajay Rastogi has suggested that it is not good for a person in custody to continue in office, referring to Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, who is facing demands of resignation following his arrest by the Enforcement Directorate in the Delhi liquor policy case.
"I think sections 8 and 9 are there for the disqualification in the Representation of the People's Act. That also deals with disqualification, the count of qualification, and a certain other nature of disqualifications," Justice Rastogi told ANI.
He said there are many restrictions under the Delhi Prison rules and every paper has to route through the Suprindent of Jails who examines it and "only with his permission you can sign".
"...If these are restrictions which law farmers have put in place, I think it is high time the person has to take a call whether it is befitting for me to continue in office while in custody," he said.
"...You are holding a high office of a chief minister and it is a public office. If you are in custody, I feel that it is not good for a person in custody to continue in office. The public morality demands that one must quit. Let us see in the past also. J Jayalalithaa, Lalu Prasad Yadav resigned and recently Mr (Hemant) Soren also resigned. You can't take any paper to the sitting chief minister in custody and get him signed...I am very firm in my view that the public morality demands it (resignation)," he added.
The former Supreme Court Judge also referred to the rules relating to government servants in case of arrest by law enforcement agencies.
"Let us see in the government service. If a government employee is in custody for 48 hours, nobody is going to examine the merits of his custody...He is deemed under suspension...Here you are in custody for so many days and god knows how long. Merely because there is no provision, that doesn't give you the authority to continue. So I think somebody must have to take a call. I am personally of the view that even if there is no provision, morality demands for taking action."
Arvind Kejriwal was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate on March 21 in an alleged money laundering case linked to the now-scraped Delhi excise policy case. He has been sent to judicial custody until April 15.
The BJP has been demanding Arvind Kejriwal's resignation on moral grounds following his arrest.
"He should resign on moral grounds. Arvind Kejriwal came from the movement which was taken out against corruption and he himself had called Sharad Pawar, Lalu Prasad Yadav and even Sonia Gandhi corrupt. Today, he (Kejriwal) has compromised with them. If he has even an iota of morality left in him, he should resign, " Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Gaurav Bhatia said.
The case pertains to alleged irregularities and money laundering in framing and implementing the Delhi Excise Policy 2022, which was later scrapped.
The ED alleged that the "scam" was to give the wholesale liquor business to private entities and fix a 12 per cent margin, for a 6 per cent kickback. In its first prosecution complaint in November 2021, the ED said the policy was "formulated with deliberate loopholes" that "promoted cartel formations through the back door" to benefit AAP leaders.
The ED also alleged that AAP leaders received kickbacks from a group of individuals identified as the "South Group".

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