At Azad's bail hearing, judge asks if cops read Constitution
A judge of Tis Hazari Court reminded today that protesting is a constitutional right and can take place in any corner of the country. The judge in question is Kamini Lau, who was hearing a bail plea of Bhim Army Chief Chandrashekhar Azad, and gave an earful to prosecutor representing Delhi Police. She wondered if cops ever gave the Constitution a read.
Background: Azad gave police a slip but was arrested later
Azad, popularly known as "Raavan", has been in custody since last month. On December 20, he appeared at Jama Masjid, carrying a copy of the Indian Constitution and a portrait of BR Ambedkar, to protest against Citizenship Amendment Act. As cops approached him, Azad gave them a slip vanishing into a large crowd. He was arrested a day later and was charged with rioting.
Allegations leveled are ill-founded, read Azad's bail plea
Later, Azad filed a bail plea. His counsel Mehmood Pracha claimed Delhi Police booked him on "boilerplate" charges and charged him "mechanically" ignoring due process. "Accused has been falsely implicated in the present case as the allegations leveled against him in the FIR are not only ill-founded but also improbable and cannot bring home the charges mentioned in it," the bail plea read.
Is Jama Masjid in Pakistan, asked judge
Today, when the matter came up for hearing, the prosecutor got off on the wrong foot when he said he had no idea about charges filed against Azad in Uttar Pradesh. Judge Lau 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."
What is wrong in protesting, asked Judge Lau
Hoping to make a case for Delhi Police, the prosecutor then said Azad incited violence through his social media posts. And to support it, the prosecutor read a post where Azad spoke about staging a dharna. "What is wrong with a dharna? What is wrong with protesting? It is one's constitutional right to protest," Judge Lau said and added the posts weren't "unconstitutional".
"Have you read the Constitution?"
Judge Lau continued, "Where is the violence? What is wrong with any of these posts? Who says you cannot protest...have you read the Constitution?" When the prosecutor argued proper permission needs to be sought, Judge Lau fumed and commented, "What permission? Supreme Court has said repeated use of Section 144 is abuse." On allegations that Azad made objectionable statements, Judge Lau demanded proofs.
After judge's harsh words, prosecutor sought more time
Shredding into Delhi Police, Judge Lau said, "I want you to show me under which law is it prohibited for someone to prohibit outside religious places." Thereafter, the prosecutor claimed they have drone footage to support claims. The case will be taken up tomorrow.