CAA protests: Delhi court pulls up cops, says ‘Jama Masjid not in Pakistan’
NEW DELHI: Delhi’s Tis Hazari Court on Tuesday pulled up Delhi Police and said people can carry out peaceful protest anywhere, including outside religious places.
While hearing the bail plea of Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad, the court said “Jama Masjid is not in Pakistan, where we are not allowed to protest. Peaceful protests take place in Pakistan as well.”
Azad was arrested after violence broke out in Daryanganj during protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act.
Asked about the charges against Azad, the public prosecutor pleaded for ignorance and told that he will find out. To this, the judge expressed surprise at the fact that he was not aware of the charges.
Thereafter, the prosecutor mentioned some posts by Azad on social media. When Pracha asked about the posts, prosecutor denied sharing those posts with him. Following which, the judge slammed the prosecutor, asking “What privilege you are claiming?”
After that the public prosecutor read a post by Azad in which he mentioned about going to dharna in the Jama Masjid area. On this, Judge Kamini Lau asked the Prosecutor — “What is wrong with dharna? What is wrong with protesting? It is an individual’s constitutional right to protest peacefully.”
“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. None of the posts by Azad were unconstitutional,” the judge said.
When the prosecutor said that permission is a must for any protest, the judge asked “What permission?”
“The apex court has said repeated use of 144 is abuse (referring to recent Kashmir case decision). Many people protest even outside Parliament,” she said.
Azad, who is currently in judicial custody, had claimed that there was no evidence against him in the FIR which states that he had instigated the crowd to march to Delhi Gate from Jama Masjid and indulge in violence.
“Which law prohibits protests in front of any religious place?” the court asked the cops.
The court adjourned hearing on the bail plea for Wednesday.
Azad’s outfit had called for a protest march from Jama Masjid to Jantar Mantar against the amended Citizenship Act on December 20, without police permission.
The other 15 people arrested in the case were granted bail by the court on January 9.
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.