During the bail hearing of Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad, Tiz Hazari Court in Delhi took Delhi police to the task and asserted that "it is one's constitutional right to protest". Additional Sessions Judge Kamini Lau at the Tis Hazari court slammed Delhi Police for its charges against Chandrashekhar Azad, 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."
Chandrashekhar Azad, Bhim Army chief was arrested on December 21 for taking part in the anti-CAA protest at Jama Masjid. He was arrested a day after the protest and was charged with arson and rioting.
Representing the police, the public prosecutor pleaded ignorance about the First Information Report (FIR) referring to charges against Chandrashekhar Azad in Uttar Pradesh. Lau expressed surprise when the prosecutor said he would "find out".
The public prosecutor also referred to Bhim Army Chief’s social media posts to state that he had incited violence. The prosecutor read out a post by the Bhim Army chief about going to a dharna in Jama Masjid. Upon hearing this, Judge Kamini Lau said, "What is wrong with a dharna? What is wrong with protesting? It is one's constitutional right to protest."
During the hearing, the Delhi police told the court they have only drone images of the gathering as evidence and no other recording.
To this, the judge said, "Do you think Delhi police is so backward that it has no tools to record anything? "Show me anything or any law that prohibits such gathering... Where is the violence? Who says you cannot protest...have you read the Constitution. It is one's Constitutional right to protest." The court further observed that Azad, having a law degree, can also protest inside the courts.
The court noted that Azad's Ambedkarite philosophy probably required more research.
Also when the prosecutor stated that "permission needed to be taken" for such protests, the court lamented, "What permission? Supreme Court has said repeated use of Section 144 is abuse".
Supreme Court, last week had said regarding restrictions in Jammu and Kashmir that Section 144 "can't be used as a tool to oppress difference of opinion".
"Azad is probably an Ambedkarite. Ambedkar was more closer to the Muslims, Sikhs and basically the repressed class of the 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 Delhi court said.
The case will resume on Wednesday.
The plea, filed through advocate Mehmood Pracha, claimed that there was no evidence against the allegations made against Azad in the FIR and his arrest was illegal.
Azad's outfit had called for a protest march from Jama Masjid to Jantar Mantar against the amended Citizenship Act on December 20.
Other 15 people arrested in the case were granted bail by the court on January 9.