Tis Hazari Additional Sessions Judge Kamini Lau on Tuesday, while hearing the bail plea of Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad in connection with the anti-Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) protests in Daryaganj last month, observed that the prosecution was behaving as if Jama Masjid was Pakistan.
When the prosecutor, representing the Delhi Police, read out some social media posts of Mr. Azad to allege that he had incited violence, Dr. Lau said: “Where is the violence? What is wrong with any of these posts? Who says you cannot protest? Have you read the Constitution?”
The Judge said: “You are behaving as if Jama Masjid is Pakistan. Even if it was Pakistan, you can go there and protest. Pakistan was a part of undivided India.”
The police pointed out that no prior permission had been taken for the protests, at which the court said: “What permission? SC [Supreme Court] has said repeated use of [Section] 144 is abuse [referring to the recent decision in a case related to Kashmir].”
When the prosecution said it had only drone images of the gathering in which Mr. Azad allegedly gave inflammatory speeches, the court said: “Do you think our Delhi Police is so backward that they have no recorded evidence? In small matters Delhi Police have recorded evidence, why not in this incident?”.
Mr. Azad’s lawyer, Mehmood Pracha, said he [Mr. Azad] had only been reading the Constitution and speaking against the CAA-National Register of Citizens (NRC) during the protest.
During the proceedings, the Judge said that many people who had protested outside the Parliament had later become leaders and Ministers, observing that Mr. Azad was a budding politician and he had the right to protest.
Dr. Lau said: “In the colonial era, the protests were out on the roads. But your protest can be legal, inside the courts. Inside the Parliament, things which should have been said, were not said, and that is why people are out on the streets. We have full right to express our views, but we cannot destroy our country.”
The court observed: “Azad is probably an Ambedkarite. Ambedkar was more closer to the Muslims, Sikhs and basically the repressed class of society… He was a rebel of his own kind. Probably Azad has a vague idea of what he wants to say but probably not able to put it across. If you take up an issue, you do your research. And that is missing.”
The Judge adjourned the hearing till 2 p.m. on Wednesday, after the prosecution requested time to furnish the other First Information Reports registered by the Uttar Pradesh Police against the accused.
Last week, the court had pulled up the Tihar Jail administration for not providing medical treatment to the accused at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences. Mr. Azad was arrested a day after the protests on December 20, 2019.
[With inputs from PTI and Live Law]