Fourteen political parties, led by the Congress, on Friday moved the Supreme Court alleging ‘misuse’ of central probe agencies, such as the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and the Central Bureau of Investigation(CBI), against Opposition leaders.
A Bench headed by Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud took note of the submissions of senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, who appeared for the Opposition parties. The matter will be heard on April 5.
The parties, which also include the Aam Aadmi Party, the Shiv Sena, and the DMK, have sought guidelines for law enforcement agencies and courts on arrest, remand, and bail.
“We are asking for pre- and post-arrest guidelines. Today the CBI and ED are used against us,” Singhvi told the court.
Other parties in the matter are the Rashtriya Janata Dal, Bharat Rashtra Samithi, Trinamool Congress, Nationalist Congress Party, Jharkhand Mukti Morcha, Janata Dal (United), Communist Party of India (Marxist), Communist Party of India, Samajwadi Party, and J&K National Conference.
"I am asking for the guidelines for the future. This is a remarkable convergence of 14 parties against the misuse of the agencies, both CBI and ED. Ninety-five per cent cases of the CBI and ED are against the leaders of Opposition," Singhvi said.
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He referred to the rise in the number of cases filed by the CBI and ED after the NDA government came to power.
The move comes a day after Congress MP from Wayanad, Rahul Gandhi, was convicted to serve a two-year jail term in a criminal defamation case by a Surat court in Gujarat for his derogatory remarks at a public meeting about those with the surname Modi.
On Friday, the former Congress president was disqualified from Lok Sabha, an action the party termed an attempt to "silence" his voice as it vowed to fight the battle legally and politically. The BJP dismissed the charges and termed the disqualification "lawful".
Protest march alleging 'democracy in danger'
Several opposition parties on Friday took out a protest march from Parliament House, alleging that democracy was in "danger" and demanding a JPC probe into the Adani issue.
Prominent leaders, including K C Venugopal, Adhir Chowdhury, K Suresh, Manickam Tagore, Imran Pratapgarhi and Mohammed Javed, were stopped by the police and detained at Vijay Chowk here for violating prohibitory orders, the Opposition claimed.
Addressing the media at Vijay Chowk, several leaders, including Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge, also raised the issue of Rahul Gandhi's conviction and alleged that the government was targeting the opposition with cases to suppress their voices.
After a protest inside the Parliament House complex, a host of Opposition leaders from parties such as the CPI, CPI(M), Shiv Sena (Uddhav Thackeray), JD(U) and Aam Aadmi Party, marched to Vijay Chowk, holding placards like 'We demand JPC' and 'Save LIC' and a huge banner in front of them with 'Democracy in Danger' written on it.