Bhim Army chief bail plea: It's a constitutional right to protest, Court slams public prosecutor
New Delhi, Jan 14: Delhi's Tis Hazari Court will take a look at all the FIRs related to Bhim Army Chief Chandrasekhar Azad tomorrow at 2pm, so that the state can produce all FIRs against him in Saharanpur.
Azad had sought bail in a local court in connection with violence during anti-Citizenship Amendment Act protest in Daryaganj area, claiming that police invoked "boilerplate" charges against him and arrested him "mechanically" without following the due process of law.
The court has put up the matter for further hearing on Wednesday.
Prosecutor reads a post by Azad about going to dharna in Jama Masjid area.
Judge Kamini Lau asks PP "What is wrong with dharna? What is wrong with protesting? It is one's constitutional right to protest"
During the bail plea hearing of Chandrashekhar Azad, Judge Kamini Lau Tuesday came down heavily on the public prosecutor saying the Bhim Army chief has a "constitutional right to protest."
The prosecution mentioned a post by Azad where is reportedly claiming about going to Jama Masjid. "Where is the violence? What is wrong with any of these posts?" the judge asked.
Interjecting the Public Prosecutor, Judge Kamini Lau asked"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 mentioned that prior permission was needed, Judge Lau countered it saying that the Supreme Court has repeatedly said that use of Section 144 is an "abuse."
Azad was arrested on December 21 during a march that he led from Delhi's Jama Masjid against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act. The court had remanded Chandrashekhar Azad to judicial custody till January 18 at Tihar jail.
Earlier, he was allowed by the court to get medical treatment at Delhi's AIIMS since he is suffering from Polycythemia.
Azad, currently in judicial custody, claimed he has been falsely implicated as the allegations levelled against him in the FIR were not only "ill founded", also "improbable".
The bail plea, filed through advocate Mehmood Pracha, alleged that no specific incriminating role has been attributed to Azad in the FIR, of which the contents were "vague" and based on "conjectures and surmises".
It said he was at all times demonstrably making efforts to maintain peace.
Azad's outfit had called for a protest march from Jama Masjid to Jantar Mantar against the amended Citizenship Act on 20 December, without police permission.
Other 15 people arrested in the case were granted bail by the court on 9 January.
Azad's plea further said that he was willing to fully cooperate with the investigation in the case and would not tamper with any evidence or influence any witnesses.
"The police have invoked boilerplate charges against the accused (Azad) without the same being founded on any allegation or fact... and have arrested him mechanically without following the due process of law which renders the initial and his continued detention completely illegal," it said.
"Accused has been falsely implicated in the present case as the allegations levelled against him in the FIR are not only ill founded but also improbable and cannot bring home the charges mentioned in it... Further, the contents of the FIR are vague and based on conjectures and surmises," alleged the plea, also filed through advocates OP Bharti and Jatin Bhatt.
The bail plea claimed that charging him with being a part of an unlawful assembly was "erroneous", as at no point of time during the alleged incident did the police authorities declare the peaceful protestors to be an unlawful assembly.
"No motive has been attributed to the accused in the present FIR, and all charges have been added mechanically... Charging the accused with being a part of an unlawful assembly is erroneous, as at no point of time during the alleged incident did the police authorities declare, announce, or proclaim the peaceful protestors to be an unlawful assembly, and nor were any warnings issued or announced in this regard.
"It may also be considered that all the material witnesses of the incident are police officials, and therefore it is further unlikely that any witness tampering will be attempted by any individual, especially the accused in the present application," the bail plea said.
The court had earlier pulled up Tihar jail authorities for acting in a "callous manner" by flouting laws that safeguard a prisoner's right and asked them to ensure that Azad was treated for polycythemia, a disorder of blood thickness, and taken to AIIMS, Delhi.
It had said that despite knowing Azad's condition, he was given ordinary medical care and not the treatment needed to address his ailment.