A Delhi court granted bail to Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad on Wednesday, about a month after he was arrested on charges of instigating violence during protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act in Old Delhi’s Daryaganj locality, PTI reported.
The court of Additional Sessions Judge Kamini Lau granted the bail with several conditions. It ruled that Azad should not stay in Delhi for the next four weeks in view of the upcoming Delhi elections. “I want no interference in elections,” Lau said, according to Live Law.
The judge ordered that Azad cannot hold any protests till Delhi elections are over, according to Bar and Bench. The court clarified that the conditions were for a months’ time in view of the Delhi elections and that he “may seek modification of the order in pursuance to the legal rights available to you”.
The Bhim Army chief, who will be escorted back to his residence in Uttar Pradesh’s Saharanpur city, has to check in with the station house officer there every Saturday for the next four weeks. Following that, he will have to mark his presence before the official every month till the chargesheet is filed.
“We have absolutely no objection to him paying obeisance wherever he wants to while he’s here,” the judge said. “Deputy commissioner of police (crime) will provide escort protection for him to go wherever to pay obeisance. He can do so wherever in the next 24 hours, before he is escorted to Saharanpur.” Azad’s lawyer asked whether he can visit Jama Masjid in Delhi. A bail bond was fixed at Rs 25,000.
Earlier in the day, the court was informed about the status of other pending cases against the Bhim Army chief. The prosecutor said that previous involvement of Azad in other cases should be considered while deciding on his bail plea.
The judge noted that one of the grounds to reject bail was fear of repetition of the offence. “When the damage to public property is an outcome of a protest called by you, you have to be responsible,” Lau said. To this, Azad’s counsel, Mahmood Pracha, claimed that they were only for peaceful protests. Pracha also read out Azad’s social media posts in court.
During Tuesday’s hearing, Lau had criticised the public prosecutor, representing Delhi Police, saying that there was nothing wrong with protests as it was “one’s constitutional right”. After the public prosecutor alleged that Azad had incited violence through his social media posts, the judge noted there was nothing violent about them.
“Who says you cannot protest?” the judge said. “Have you read the Constitution? 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.”
Last week, a court in Delhi had criticised the Tihar Jail authorities for not providing medical treatment to the Bhim Army leader, who suffers from a blood disease. On January 9, the court ordered the jail authorities to shift Azad to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences. In his application, moved on January 6, Azad said he can suffer cardiac arrest if he does not receive treatment. The disease “requires continuous checkup from the doctors concerned from AIIMS, who are supervising his treatment for a long time”, added the Bhim Army chief.