Anil Deshmukh
Anil Deshmukh

New Delhi: The Supreme Court Monday directed the Bombay High Court to hear and decide NCP leader Anil Deshmukh‘s bail plea in a money laundering case by the end of this week.

Expressing displeasure over the delay in hearing the bail plea of Deshmukh, a bench of Justices DY Chandrachud and Hima Kohli noted that any person who files an application for bail has a legitimate expectation of it being heard expeditiously.

The bench said keeping an application for bail pending is not consistent with the Right to Life under Article 21 of the Constitution.

“We issue a direction and permit the petitioner to apply before the learned judge, to whom the case has been assigned, tomorrow. The application shall be taken for hearing during the course of this week and decided expeditiously,” the bench said.

Justice N J Jamadar of the high court is hearing the bail plea of Deshmukh.

At the outset, senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for 73-year-old Deshmukh, submitted that the hearing on the bail plea is being deferred and sought interim bail.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for ED, opposed the interim bail plea and said the top court should not pass any such order.

Deshmukh was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in November 2021 and is currently in judicial custody.

On April 8, the high court adjourned the hearing on Deshmukh’s bail application while deprecating the practice of seeking urgent hearings of bail pleas citing medical emergencies.

The NCP leader had filed a petition in the high court after a special court rejected his bail plea earlier.

He has sought bail on grounds of his ailing health and termed the ED’s case false and frivolous.

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