The Supreme Court on Monday gave the Bombay High Court time till the end of this week to decide on the bail plea of former Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh, who has been arrested in connection with a money laundering case, reported PTI.
A bench of Justices DY Chandrachud and Hima Kohli noted that Deshmukh’s bail plea has been pending since March 21, reported Live Law.
“Any person who has filed a bail application has a legitimate expectation that his plea will be disposed of at an early date,” the bench noted. “Keeping an application for bail pending for eight months is not consistent with the Right to Life under Article 21.”
Deshmukh was taken into custody in November after the Enforcement Directorate had booked him under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act. The central agency began an investigation against the Nationalist Congress Party leader after former Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh had accused him of coercing police officers to extort money from the owners of bars and restaurants in the city.
On May 31, the Supreme Court allowed Deshmukh to approach the Bombay High Court seeking the early listing of his bail application. The top court in its order noted that Deshmukh had filed the bail plea before the High Court on March 25. It also observed that the application had been listed before the court three times but was not taken because of lack of time.
On July 29, the Bombay High Court heard Deshmukh’s bail plea. His counsel Vikram Chaudhary had said that the former minister was suffering from various ailments and was not in his best of health, reported India Today. However, the High Court did not list any new date for the hearing.