Anti-CAA protests: Delhi court grants bail to Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad

Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad. File   | Photo Credit: G.P. Sampath Kumar

The Tis Hazari Court on Wednesday granted bail to Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad, who was arrested for allegedly inciting violence during the anti-CAA protest in Daryaganj last month.

However, Additional Sessions Judge Kamini Lau ruled that the accused would not visit Delhi during the next four weeks, in view of the coming Assembly elections, he not being a permanent resident of, nor an elector in Delhi.

In case Mr. Azad visits Delhi for medical treatment, he will have to inform the Deputy Commissioner of Police (Crime) and the Station House Officer of Fatehpur in Uttar Pradesh, where he lives, about his schedule. The police will escort him. This directive is effective till February 16.

The court allowed bail on furnishing of a bond of Rs. 25,000 with two sureties of the like amount.

The other conditions include that Mr. Azad will mark his presence before the Fatehpur police station chief every Saturday for the next four weeks from the date or release.

Thereafter, he will have to appear on the last Saturday of every month till further orders. He has also been asked to surrender his passport and not indulge in any similar offence.

The court allowed a request of the accused to visit Jama Masjid, Jor Bagh and Guru Ravidas Temple for paying obeisance, but within 24 hours of his release. He will be escorted to his house in Fatehpur thereafter.

The court gave bail to Mr. Azad on various  grounds, including that the police were unable to prima facie prove the allegation that he had given inflammatory speeches near Jama Masjid. No assessment of damage to properties had been carried out.

The provisions invoked against Mr. Azad were largely bailable; in the nine other cases he was on bail since February 2018 and that he had not been convicted in any of them; that he was in judicial custody for the past 25 days; and that he was suffering from a unique medical condition - polycythemia, for which he was undergoing treatment at AIIMS.

Also, the other 15 accused persons arrested for alleged violence during the protests had already been granted bail.

Dr. Lau started her order by invoking Rabindranath Tagore's poem "where the mind is without fear..."

"I am reminded of our reverend patriotic poet Rabindranath Tagore, who is the most reverent today. He, during the Colonial Era in early 1900s, when the British followed the policy of Divide and Rule, visualised a national where there is no fear in the mind of people....," she said.

The order said: "In our democratic set-up, we have a fundamental right to peaceful protest guaranteed by the Constitution...however, at the same time, our Constitution strikes a balance between the rights and duties. While exercising our right of peaceful protest, it is our duty to ensure that no corresponding right or another is violated and no inconvenience is caused to anyone."

The court said violence or destruction of property was totally unacceptable and the organisers of protests would be liable to compensate for any damage to public or private property.

"Of course, it goes without saying thst protests do lead to inconvenience, but it has to be ensured that these protests do not last for a long time at places under public use," the order said.

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Printable version | Jun 13, 2021 12:30:51 AM |

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