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Saurabh Bharadwaj vows to ‘save’ Kejriwal from arrest in Excise Policy scam while HC issues stern warning to jail him over Delhi Health Bill: Details

While, Delhi's Health Minister Saurabh Bharadwaj was protesting to 'save' Kejriwal, the Delhi High Court issued a stern warning to him and Health Secretary S B Deepak Kumar, saying that they could face imprisonment for failing to follow judicial orders on the enactment of a law to govern clinical facilities

On Friday (22nd March), AAP Delhi Minister Saurabh Bharadwaj was detained by the Delhi Police after he protested against the arrest of Delhi CM and AAP supremo Arvind Kejriwal in connection with the Excise Policy scam case. This is amid the severe warning issued by the Delhi High Court that he might get arrested for disrespecting the judicial orders on the enactment of a law to govern clinical facilities.

“We will state before the Supreme Court that Arvind Kejriwal should be allowed to meet his lawyer and family and also allowed to carry out his official work. Kejriwal’s family has been put under house arrest,” Bharadwaj said on March 22, as the AAP protesters were lodged in a police bus as officials asked protesters at the ITO intersection to disperse in view of prohibitory orders under section 144 imposed in the area.

While, Delhi’s Health Minister Saurabh Bharadwaj was protesting to ‘save’ Kejriwal, the Delhi High Court issued a stern warning to him and Health Secretary S B Deepak Kumar, saying that they could face imprisonment for failing to follow judicial orders on the enactment of a law to govern clinical facilities.

The court chastised them for failing to comply with directions, emphasizing that they are “servants of the government” and cannot have “large egos.”

In February, the court summoned Bharadwaj and Kumar after reviewing an email alleging that the minister was not kept informed of negotiations on the Delhi Health Establishments (Registration and Regulation) Bill.

The Court stated that the Minister and Secretary were attempting to outdo one another, but that the Court would not accept such behaviour if its instructions continued to be ignored. “Do not do this otherwise, you both will go to jail. We will have no hesitation in sending both of you to jail if it benefits the common man,” a division bench of acting Chief Justice Manmohan and Justice Manmeet Pritam Singh Arora said.

The Bench gave a firm warning while hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) brought by social worker Bejon Kumar Misra in which he sought the closure of all unauthorized pathology and diagnostic laboratories in the national capital run by unqualified laboratory personnel.

In February 2024, the High Court voiced concern about the government’s failure to finalize the Delhi Health Establishments (Registration and Regulation) Bill, 2022, popularly known as the Delhi Health Bill.

The Court then directed that the Health Minister and the Health Secretary attend the next hearing in person. On Thursday, March 21, Bharadwaj appeared in court and stated that the Delhi Health Bill had already been approved in May 2022. He further stated that the Court’s indulgence would help the Delhi government in getting the bill passed, even though there are vested interests who do not want the bill to become law.

The Health Secretary also appeared before the Court. ACJ Manmohan told Bharadwaj that the Court could not be used as a pawn in the conflict between the Secretary and the Minister.

“You think we are a pawn and you will use us? You are playing a game of chess and think we will help you in your strategy. I told you to be careful and to not mess around… We are handling a PIL and you are saying you will give us a draft bill and we should send it to the Centre. We are not politicians but we understand how a politician thinks,” ACJ Manmohan remarked.

“You want to send your bill to the Centre, do it. But in the interregnum, you need to put in place some arrangements. We cannot have people getting wrong reports and suffering,” he added.

The Bench then requested that the Minister and the Secretary meet to discuss how to address the petitioner’s and the Court’s concerns. The next hearing for the matter is scheduled for April 4.

Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal withdraws plea against arrest from Supreme Court

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, who had ignored nine summonses by the Enforcement Directorate before his dramatic arrest late yesterday in connection with the alleged liquor policy scam, has reportedly withdrawn his petition from the Supreme Court against his arrest.

Reports suggest that Kejriwal will seek recourse through a lower court, following the proper protocol.

This move by the Aam Aadmi Party chief comes shortly after Bharat Rashtra Samithi leader K Kavitha, who was arrested last week in the same case, had her petition rejected by the apex court. Interestingly, the same bench that handled Kavitha’s case was assigned to consider Arvind Kejriwal’s plea.

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