The Delhi High Court today gave two more weeks to former chief minister Arvind Kejriwal and ex-cabinet minister Somnath Bharti to respond to a plea seeking cancellation of their election as legislators for allegedly crossing the EC-set expenditure limit in 2013 assembly polls.
The court sought their responses by April 17 on two separate petitions filed by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders Vijender Gupta and Arti Mehra alleging Kejriwal and Bharti each had crossed the statutory limit of Rs 14 lakh.
Gupta's petition against Kejriwal is being heard by the court of Justice Vipin Sanghi who granted additional time to the ex-CM on his counsel's request. Justice G S Sistani too granted additional time to Bharti to respond to Mehra's plea.
On whether Kejriwal's resignation would have any effect on the case, Gupta's counsel told Justice Sistani that since it is an election petition, "resignation of the CM will have no effect on the proceedings".
"If we succeed, they (Kejriwal and Bharti) can't contest elections for six years," Gupta's lawyer told the court.
In their petitions, the BJP leaders have alleged the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leaders spent more than Rs 17 lakh each in the assembly elections held on December 4, 2013, and have sought orders declaring their election as null and void. The Election Commission has set a limit of Rs 14 lakh for poll expenditure of every candidate during assembly elections, they have said in their petitions.
Their petitions also alleged Kejriwal and Bharti have indulged in "corrupt practices" and incurred huge expenditure during the campaign by organising a rock show "Jeet Ki Gunj, Vote for Change" on November 23, 2013 at Jantar Mantar after filing their nomination papers.
Kejriwal had defeated Gupta in the assembly elections in New Delhi constituency while Bharti had won against Mehra from Malviya Nagar constituency. Their petitions alleged Kejriwal had influenced voters through the concert, thereby affecting the outcome of the election. The BJP leaders have also accused the two AAP leaders of having violated the Model Code of Conduct issued by the Election Commission, the provisions of the Representation of People Act and also the principles of the Constitution on free and fair elections.