New Delhi: “What is wrong with dharna? What is wrong with protesting? It is one’s constitutional right to protest.” These were the words of Judge Kamini Lau of Delhi’s Tis Hazari court, as she slammed the public prosecutor while hearing Bhim Army chief Chandra Shekhar Aazad’s bail plea.
The public prosecutor has opposed the bail application and told the court that Aazad incited violence on social media. When the judge first asked to see the posts in question, the prosecutor refused to share them with Aazad’s counsel. The judge insisted saying no privilege could be claimed here, LiveLaw reported.
Once shown the posts, the judge came down heavily on the public prosecutor, saying they did not incite violence and were only a call for protest. “Where is the violence?” she said. “What is wrong with any of these posts?”
Aazad and the Bhim Army had organised a march from the Jama Masjid to Jantar Mantar on December 20. Their protest was denied police permission.
“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,” Judge Lau said.
She also countered the public prosecutor’s claim on prior permission saying the Supreme Court had ruled that the government’s repeated use of Section 144 is “abuse” of the law. She was referring to the court’s recent order in the Kashmir case.
“I want you to show me under which law it is prohibited for someone to protest outside religious places,” the judge told the public prosecutor. She even asked the lawyer, “Have you read the constitution?”
“In the colonial era, the protests were out on the roads. But your protest can be legal, inside the courts. Inside the parliament things that should have been said were not said, and that is why people are out on the streets. We have full right to express our views but we cannot destroy our country,” the judge said before adjourning the hearing till 2 pm tomorrow.
Aazad has been in jail since December 21. In his bail plea, he has said that there is no proof that he incited violence and that he and his supporters were not involved in any violence that may have occurred.
On January 9, a Delhi court had said Aazad should be moved from Tihar jail to the All India Institute for Medical Sciences, New Delhi, for medical treatment.