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Magistrate orders release of Bhim Army chief after two-day custody

Chandra Shekhar Aazad

Chandra Shekhar Aazad | Photo Credit: MOORTHY RV

The court of an Executive Magistrate here on Monday ordered the release of Bhim Army chief Chandra Shekhar Azad, who was arrested from a hotel in the intervening night of July 1 and 2, after he spent two days in judicial custody. Mr. Azad was arrested along with 21 others under Section 151 of Criminal Procedure Code.

Mr. Azad had arrived here to support a protest called by the Covid Health Assistants, engaged by the State government on a temporary basis during the pandemic, demanding regularisation of their jobs. Mr. Azad and his associates were apparently arrested to keep them away from the protest.

The Jaipur Police Commissionerate enjoys the magisterial powers of granting bail, while dealing with Section 151 of Cr.P.C. which lays down the procedure for arresting a person without orders from a Magistrate and without warrants, if there is a design to commit a cognizable offence.

While the police have maintained that Mr. Azad was arrested as a preventive measure in view of prohibitory orders under Section 144 of Cr.P.C. being in force in the State following the murder of tailor Kanhaiya Lal in Udaipur, Dalit activist Dharmendra Kumar told The Hindu that the arrest was illegal.

Mr. Kumar said the police authorities did not give the judicial custody orders passed by the Executive Magistrate, despite being asked by the lawyers and sureties. “The due process was not followed. Mr. Azad was sent to custody without getting any opportunity to be heard or to file a proper bail application through his lawyer,” he said.

Mr. Azad and his associates were asked to submit the duly verified bail bonds and sureties and were sent to jail on not being able to produce the papers late in the evening on July 2.

The Executive Magistrate released Mr. Azad and the 21 others on personal bonds on Monday. Activists said Mr. Azad was constantly in dialogue with the police over the protest or submission of a memorandum to the Chief Minister, and there was no possibility of a cognizable offence likely to be committed, warranting the application of Section 151 of Cr.P.C.

People’s Union for Civil Liberties-Rajasthan president Kavita Srivastava said the exercise of executive powers by the Police Commissionerate had no judicial safeguards in Jaipur, with the discretion of bail lying entirely within the police apparatus. She said the magisterial powers of bail should be restored to the Sub-Divisional Magistrate after amending the Rajasthan Police Act.

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Printable version | Jul 4, 2022 10:13:04 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/magistrate-orders-release-of-bhim-army-chief-after-two-day-custody/article65598899.ece