Bhim Army Chief, Chandra Shekhar Azad
Bhim Army Chief, Chandra Shekhar Azad

It is one’s constitutional right to protest: Delhi Court raps prosecution in Chandra Shekhar Azad bail plea

Bar & Bench

A Court at Delhi’s Tis Hazari Complex today berated the public prosecutor while hearing the bail plea filed by Bhim Army leader Chandra Shekhar Azad.

The public prosecutor today opposed Azad’s bail application, arguing that he had incited public violence through social media posts. When counsel for Azad, Mahmood Pracha, asked the prosecutor to share the posts, the latter reportedly denied the same.

The prosecutor went on to cite a tweet by Azad stating his intention to join an anti-CAA dharna at Delhi’s Jama Masjid.

In response, Additional Sessions Judge Kamini Lau reportedly asked the public prosecutor,

“What is wrong with dharna? What is wrong with protesting? It is one’s constitutional right to protest.”
ASJ Kamini Lau

She went on to say,

“You are behaving as if Jama Masjid is Pakistan. Even if it was Pakistan, you can go there and protest.”

At this stage, the prosecutor told the judge that permission is required for any protest. Judge Lau then referred to the Supreme Court’s recent decision in the Kashmir restrictions matter to say that repeated used of Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, which can be invoked to place prohibitions on assembly, is an abuse of power.

On the contention that the protest took place outside Jama Masjid, a religious structure, the judge reportedly said,

“I want you to show me under which law it is prohibited for someone to protest outside religious places…Have you read the Constitution?”

Bar and Bench - Indian Legal news