SC denies interim bail to AAP leader Somnath Bharti

SC denies interim bail to AAP leader Somnath Bharti
Jailed AAP MLA Somnath Bharti was today denied interim bail by the Supreme Court which sought the presence of his wife before it on Monday to explore the possibility of mediation in domestic violence and attempt to murder case lodged by her.

The apex court, which said that Bharti's petition for anticipatory bail has become infructuous after his surrender, declined the oral plea of his counsel for grant of interim bail till October 5.

A bench, comprising Chief Justice H L Dattu and Justice Amitava Roy, said it will wait for the outcome of proceeding before the Magistrate where the controversial legislator will be produced on expiry of his two-day police custody today.

"Let us see what the Magistrate does. If for any reason nothing happens, we will see on Monday," the bench said, after which there was a verbal duel between Justice Roy and senior advocate Gopal Subramaniam.

Subramaniam had expressed "surprise and worry" saying that the trial court had granted police custody notwithstanding Bharti's surrender during the pendency of his plea in the apex court. However, the bench cautioned him that he should not take it for sure that bail would be granted on the next date of hearing.

"Let it not be taken as an assurance. We will consider. We do have the power to grant bail," the bench said after noting that perhaps Subramaniam has taken its observations as if Bharti would get the relief on Monday.

Subramaniam said the court can only give order and not assurance.
This further prompted Justice Roy to say "ultimately it is the privilege of the court to pass orders. ... We are just trying to clear the air you have created," the judge said, evoking further reaction from the senior advocate who shot back, saying "I have not created air and I can't be attributed to any presumption."

In the final order, the bench took on record the letter written by Bharti's lawyer on his behalf that the AAP MLA from Malviya Nagar, was willing for settlement with his wife Lipika Mitra through mediation for the sake of their children.

The bench issued notice to his wife and sought her presence on Monday to know her stand on the possibilities of mediation.

At the outset, Subramaniam said that Bharti had complied with the September 28 undertaking and surrendered before the police the same evening at 10:00 PM, but his arrest has not been correctly shown in the arrest memo.

Further, he complained that the legislator was denied meeting with his lawyer till he was produced before the Magistrate and granted police custody.

His submission questioning the police proceedings was opposed by Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi, who was appearing for Delhi Police.

The Attorney General said Bharti's appeal against the Delhi High Court order dismissing his anticipatory bail plea has now become infructuous and misconceived and he was not standing in the way of mediation.

The bench also said "we kept the appeal pending because we wanted to know if the lady (Lipika Mitra) is ready to go for mediation."

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