A vacation bench of Justice Arun Mishra and Justice M.R. Shah made the observation while granting protection from arrest, till May 28, to BJP candidate Arjun Singh, who is contesting from the state's Barrackpore Lok Sabha constituency.
"We grant the insulation to the petitioner that no coercive action shall be taken against the petitioner in the cases which have been registered against him so far and in which his arrest is required. No arrest shall be made in the cases filed against him for the period commencing from today i.e. from May 22 till May 28," the court said.
Singh had moved the top court seeking an urgent hearing "as the West Bengal Police have foisted several criminal cases on him". He said that 11 cases have been lodged against in May itself to prevent his personal presence on the day of counting in the general election.
Senior advocate Ranjit Kumar, representing Singh, submitted that the ongoing lawyers' strike in West Bengal had paralyzed the judiciary in the state, and as a consequence, he has to approach the top court.
The counsel for West Bengal denied Singh's allegations that the cases against him are politically motivated. He informed the court that Singh had himself declared that he was out on bail in eight other cases, including under the Arms Act and rioting, in his affidavit submitted to the Election Commission, along with his nomination.
Singh's counsel, however, argued that he joined the BJP in March this year, and as a result, cases have been slapped on him.
With the court granting him relief, Singh will be present during the counting and can look into legal remedies against arrest.
( With inputs from IANS )