The Tis Hazari Sessions Judge, Kamini Lau, on Wednesday, granted bail to Bhim Army Chief, Chandrashekhar Azad in connection with anti-CAA protests at Jama Masjid on December 20th.
The relief was granted on furnishing a bail bond of Rs 25,000. The bail plea had claimed that his arrest was illegal, and there was no evidence against the allegations made against Azad in the FIR.
Chandrashekhar Azad was granted bail on the condition that he does not reside or hold protests in Delhi for the next four weeks owing to the upcoming Delhi elections. “I want no interference in elections,” the judge said. The Court has also said that Chandrashekhar Azad cannot visit the Shaheen Bagh protest site.
The other conditions put forward by the Court require Azad to appear before an SHO in Saharanpur, his hometown, every Saturday, till a charge sheet is filed in the matter. In case Chandrashekhar has to visit AIIMS for his medical condition, he shall first inform DCP Crime, who shall provide him with an escort, the Court added.
The judge told Pracha (Azad’s lawyer) that one of the grounds to refuse bail is fear of a repetition of the offence and “when damage to public property is an outcome of a protest called by you, you have to be responsible.”
According to a report, Judge Lau called one of Azad’s social media posts “problematic” and said, “You have to respect the institution. You have to respect the Prime Minister. Why should you attack the PM?”
The Tis Hazari Sessions Judge Kamini Lau, while hearing Chandrashekhar Azad’s bail application on Tuesday, had slammed Delhi Police and asked the public prosecutor what is wrong in a protest. The judge said, “What is wrong with dharna? What is wrong with protesting? It is one’s constitutional right to protest.”
Delhi Police had arrested Chandrashekhar Azad following the CAA protests that had allegedly turned violent in Daryaganj. The Bhim Army chief was sent to judicial custody on December 21 by a Delhi court. Azad had organized a march from Jama Masjid to Jantar Mantar against the amended Citizenship Act.
When the prosecutor said that one has to take permission to protest, the judge hit back and said, “What permission? The Supreme Court has said repeated use of Section 144 is abuse. I have seen many people, many such cases, where protests happened even outside Parliament. Some of those people are now senior politicians, chief ministers.”
During the bail plea hearing on Tuesday, judge Lau asked the prosecutor, “I want you to show me under which law is it prohibited for someone to prohibit outside religious places?” The judge then also asked whether the prosecutor had read the Constitution at all.
The judge also told the prosecutor, “you are behaving as if Jama Masjid is in Pakistan. Even if it was Pakistan, you can go there and protest. Pakistan was a part of undivided India.”
Azad was charged with rioting, unlawful assembly and inciting the mob to indulge in violence after vandalism in Daryaganj, Delhi. He was supposed to remain in judicial custody till January 18. The Bhim Army chief will be released from prison on January 17.