Opinion

What if Arvind Kejriwal was under house arrest?

AAP on Twitter alleged that Arvind Kejriwal was under house arrest and no one was allowed to enter his house. But what does it mean?

Amid a Bharat bandh call on Tuesday, the farmers’ protest against the three recently enacted agricultural laws entered its 13th day on Tuesday. India has shown solidarity with its farmers with several trade unions supporting the strike.

Aam Aadmi Party on its Twitter handle alleged that Arvind Kejriwal is under house arrest. The tweet read,”Important : BJP’s Delhi Police has put Hon’ble CM Shri @ArvindKejriwal under house arrest ever since he visited farmers at Singhu Border yesterday No one has been permitted to leave or enter his residence #आज_भारत_बंद_है #BJPHouseArrestsKejriwal

However, the Delhi Police denied any such claims of placing Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal under house arrest. As per reports, DCP Anto Alphonse was quoted as saying, “The deployment which is being seen outside the residence of CM Kejriwal is the regular deployment for the security of the CM. We’re coordinating with the CM’s residence. Anyone whom they say they want to allow inside, we will allow.”

Union Minister and BJP Leader Smriti Irani, in a statement, said that Arvind Kejriwal had shown his support for the Farm Bills when the bill was discussed administratively and at political level.

Notably, the Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal extended his support to the farmers protest and their Bharat Band call. He gave out a statement the day before saying that he would participate in the peacful protest on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Manish Sisodia tweeted again saying that the Delhi Police is not allowing anyone to enter Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal’s house.

What Is House Arrest?

House arrest is a sentence to time at home, under tight security and surveillance, rather than a typical jail sentence for offenders. Notably, the provision of house arrest finds no mention in the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) or the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

House arrest is carried out in exceptional circumstances and is exercised as an inherent power by the court of law. Also, it is an option for non-violent offenders. There are also police or security personnel deployed near entry-exit of the residence to implement house arrest and restrict from absconding.

How does House Arrest of an acting CM make any difference?

House arrest is carried out for offenders under special provisions since it does not find any particular mention anywhere in the rulebooks of law. The last time we heard of a CM or Ex-CM face detention and house arrest was from Kashmir. It was most recently from Kashmir where Mehbooba Mufti, Omar Abdullah and Farooq Abdullah, among others were detained under the blanket Public Safety Act (PSA) in Kashmir.

For a little background, The Jammu & Kashmir Public Safety Act (PSA), 1978 is a preventive detention law, under which a person is taken into custody to prevent him or her from acting in any manner that is prejudicial to “the security of the state or the maintenance of the public order”. Now, this is very general in nature.

Anyhow, Mehbooba Mufti’s and Abdullah father-son duo’s detention was justified by quoting the turmoil in Kashmir and any further damage that could be caused by allowing the three politicians access to public communication. But, Arvind Kejriwal’s case demands a logic for justification.

Party workers and even Deputy CM Delhi Manish Sisodia were allegedly not allowed to meet Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal while the police forces kept categorically declining any house arrest for the Delhi CM.

It is strange that the acting Chief Minister of a state was allegedly house arrested in his own state where he has been democratically elected as a representative of the people. One wonders, was all this done only because Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal announced solidarity with the Bharat Band call amid the Farmers protest in Delhi. If that was the only reason, we are sorry to say that this is not what democracy should look like.

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