Justice Nyaya Bindu grants bail to Arvind Kejriwal in excise policy case, and becomes a victim of a right wing campaign 

Supreme Court principles on personal liberty guide decision amidst political scrutiny

The vacation bench of Justice Nyaya Bindu on June 20, 2024 granted bail to Arvind Kejriwal in the excise policy case. The court held quoted the saying of Benjamin Franklin “it is better a 100 guilty men should escape than one innocent man should suffer” to show that this principle lays down a very important duty on the court, that is to prevent guilty persons from escaping while also ensuring no innocent man suffers.

The court order relied on the Supreme Court order, in the same case to grant bail to the accused.

“An important observation has been given by Hon’ble Supreme Court as pointed out by Ld. Counsel for the applicant in the order dated 10.05.2024, wherein it was observed by the Hon’ble Supreme Court that:-

“..no doubt, serious accusations have been made, but he has not been convicted. He does not have any criminal antecedents. He is not a threat to the society. The investigation in the present case has remained pending since August 2022. Arvind Kejriwal was arrested, as noted above, on 21.03.2024. More importantly, legality and validity of the arrest itself is under challenge before this Court and we are yet to finally pronounce on the same. The fact situation cannot be compared with harvesting of crops or plea to look after business affairs.

In this background, one the matter is subjudice and the questions relating to legality of arrest are under consideration, a more holistic and libertarian view is justified, in the background that the 18h Lok Sabha General Elections are being held.”

23. These observations of Hon’ble Supreme Court cannot be ignored while deciding the present bail application of the present applicant. It is reiterated by Ld. Counsel for the applicant that Supreme Court has considered the antecedents of the applicant and the same cannot be denied by the court.”

The court held that the ED had failed to establish that the co-accused Vijay Nair was acting upon the directions of Kejriwal and has also failed to show that Kejriwal has close relations with Vinod Chauhan and Charanpreet Singh.

“ED has also failed to clarify as to how it came to the conclusion that the sum of rupees one crore attached from Vinod Chauhan was the part of the proceeds of the crime. ED is also not clarifying as to how the alleged amount of rupees 40 crores being traced out during the investigation is forming a part of the proceeds of the crime,” the court said.

The court noted that the ED failed to reply on certain issues raised by Kejriwal like, he was not named in the CBI case or the in the ECIR FIR.

“Secondly, the allegations against the applicant have surfaced after the subsequent statements of certain co- accused. Thirdly, this is also an admitted fact that the accused has not been summoned by the court till date, yet, he is lying in the judicial custody at the instance of ED on the pretext of the investigation being still going on,” the court said.

The strong observations made by the trial court include, that the ED has failed to show the money-trial, the connection to Goa Election, work without bias, and connect Kejriwal to any proceeds of the crime, a timely investigation and any sort of connection with Vijay Nair.

The order of the trial court can be read here


The court while granting bail, observed that bulky documents had been filed by both the parties.

“Although, various bulky documents and citations have been filed by both the parties, most of which were not even relevant in respect of the present application but it seems that both the parties have filed the same alongwith detailed oral arguments with the apprehension as to an order may be passed in favour of the opposite party. Admittedly, the present matter is a peculiar case wherein various accused, witnesses and stake holders are involved and neither ED nor the defense wants the order to be passed in favour of the other. However, it is not passible to go through these thousands of pages of the documents at this juncture but this is the duty of the court to work upon the matter whichever comes for consideration and pass the order in accordance with the law.”

This statement created a stir of comments on twitter. The BJP IT cell attacked Justice Nyaya Bindu for the statement “However, it is not passible to go through these thousands of pages of the documents at this juncture but this is the duty of the court to work upon the matter whichever comes for consideration and pass the order in accordance with the law.”

Please embed the following tweets here:

This right wing campaign did not stop here.

The High Court of Delhi also in its order stayed Arvind Kejriwal’s bail while stating that the entire voluminous record was not perused. Such an observation was “totally unwarranted” and showed that the trial court has not applied its mind to the material.

“The observation made by the Vacation Judge in Impugned Order is uncalled for, unwarranted and out of context. The Vacation Judge should refrain from making such observations in the Impugned Order. The Vacation Judge was required to consider every important and relevant document at time of passing of Impugned Order,” 

The order of the High Court can be read here:


The law on bail

Bail is a right and jail is the exception, innocent until proven guilty are just maxim’s that have been left in India. The application of these principles in close to nil. In the case of Sumit Subhaschandra Gangwal & Anr. v. The State of Maharashtra  (Crl.) No(s). 3561/2023; 27-04-2023, the Supreme Court held as follows:

Detailed elaboration of evidence has to be avoided at the stage of grant/rejection of bail/anticipatory bail. We do not appreciate such a lengthy elaboration of evidence at this stage.”

“It is always said that in the matters pertaining to liberty of citizens, the Court should act promptly. In our view, such an inordinate delay in passing an order pertaining to liberty of a citizen is not in tune with the constitutional mandate.”

In the case of Kadar Nazir Inamdar v. The State of Maharashtra (Crl.) No(s). 4793/2023 the rule of law laid down was reaffirmed.

“Recently, this Court, vide order dated 27.04.2023 passed in SLP(Crl) No. 3561/2023, had deprecated the practice of detailed elaboration of evidence in the orders granting/rejecting bail/anticipatory bail. This Court also depreciated the practice of long delay between reserving the matter for order and pronouncing the order” the court said, while reaffirming the judgement.

Justice Nyaya Bindu’s decision to grant bail to Arvind Kejriwal was firmly rooted in the principles of justice and fairness as emphasized by the Supreme Court of India. The Court’s stance that detailed elaboration of evidence should be avoided at the bail stage, as seen in Sumit Subhaschandra Gangwal & Anr. v. The State of Maharashtra and Kadar Nazir Inamdar v. The State of Maharashtra, underscores the need for prompt and just actions in matters affecting personal liberty. Justice Nyaya Bindu’s remarks on the impracticality of reviewing thousands of pages of documents in a short timeframe reflect the principles laid down by the common law system as well as the law of the country that is expedient justice rather than any dereliction of duty. The principles of “innocent until proven guilty” and the right to bail as opposed to pre-trial incarceration are foundational to our legal system, yet they often face challenges in practical application, especially under intense public and political scrutiny.

The subsequent criticisms from the right-wing factions and the Delhi High Court’s decision to stay the bail highlight a disturbing trend where judicial decisions are subject to public opinion rather than being solely based on legal merit. This public and political interference undermines the independence of the judiciary and threatens the core principles of justice. Justice Bindu’s approach, aimed at safeguarding personal liberty while the legal validity of the arrest is still under review, aligns with the constitutional mandate and Supreme Court directives.


The essence of our legal system is to uphold justice without fear or favour, irrespective of the public or political pressures. Justice Nyaya Bindu’s decision embodies this principle, focusing on the legal merits of the case and the rights of the individual. The integrity of the judicial process must be fiercely protected, ensuring that decisions are made based on law and justice rather than succumbing to external pressures. This case exemplifies the need for a judiciary that stands resilient against undue influences and upholds the rule of law, ensuring that the scales of justice remain balanced and fair.

By adhering to the principles laid down by higher courts and taking a stance that prioritizes liberty and justice, Justice Nyaya Bindu’s decision serves as a reminder of the core values that the judiciary must protect. The legal community and society at large must support and reinforce these values, condemning any efforts to undermine judicial independence and ensuring that justice prevails based on legal merits, not the court of public opinion.

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