Time is fast running out for Aam Aadmi Party MLA Somnath Bharti who is absconding from law. The Supreme Court has directed Bharti to surrender before the police by evening in connection with the domestic violence and attempt to murder case filed against him by his wife, according to agencies.
"We want him to surrender before appropriate jurisdiction of the police by this evening. We don't intend to pass any further order," PTI quoted a bench comprising Chief Justice H L Dattu and Justice Amitava Roy as saying.
The bench rejected the plea of his counsel and senior advocate Gopal Subramaniam that Bharti, who is absconding from law, be given time till tomorrow to surrender.
"No, we will not give time. If you want your matter to come on Thursday, you have to surrender today itself," the bench said, while rejecting a further request that he be given time till 7 pm to surrender.
Subramaniam submitted that the whole incident was an outcome of the matrimonial dispute in which, not only the couple, but their two children were also sufferers. The court should keep this in mind while hearing Bharti's appeal against the rejection of his anticipatory bail by the trial court and the Delhi High Court, he contended.
However, the bench said it was not concerned with the issue at this stage and asked how should Bharti have conducted himself as a responsible citizen after dismissal of his plea before trial court and the High Court.
"Not to say you have lost before two courts (trial court and High Court). You went for anticipatory bail before the trial court, you did not succeed. You went for anticipatory bail before the High Court, you did not succeed. What is your duty as a responsible citizen," the bench asked.
"First you surrender, then we will see whether the matter should be referred to mediation centre. We want family dispute to be sorted out but we can't be saying that we will be protecting an absconder.
"We will find out from his wife whether she is ready to sit for mediation. We want families to live together. We don't want disruption in family life," the bench said, while making it clear it will not go into the merits of the matter unless Bharti surrenders.
Meanwhile, Minister of State (MoS) for Home Affairs, Kiren Rijiju, appealed to Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and other Aam Aadmi Party leaders to support Delhi Police to find Bharti.
"I appeal Chief Minister Kejriwal and other AAP leaders to help police find Bharti, so that he won't be able to evade the process of law," said Rijiju.
The Delhi Police had earlier, claimed that Bharti is playing the game of hide and seek by frequently changing his location, just like a professional criminal.