When the public prosecutor read out some of Azad’s social media posts, which they alleged had incited violence, the judge asked, “What is wrong with dharna? What is wrong with protesting? It is one’s constitutional right to protest.”
In the posts, as LiveLaw pointed out, Azad had called for protests and dharna near the Jama Masjid against the CAA.
“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,” the judge told the prosecutor, according to LiveLaw.
The judge also asked the prosecutor, representing the Delhi Police, where was the violence. “What is wrong with any of these posts? Have you read the Constitution?” the judge was quoted as saying by The Indian Express.
When the prosecutor said that permission had to be taken for the protests, the judge asked “what permission?”
“The Supreme Court has said repeated use of Section 144 is abuse. I have seen many people, many such cases, where protests happened even outside Parliament. Some of those people are now senior politicians, chief ministers,” India Today quoted the judge as saying.
Judge Lau also said that Azad was a “budding politician” who had the right to protest.
When the prosecutor said that there was drone footage of Azad giving inflammatory speeches, the Bhim Army chief’s lawyer Mehmood Pracha contended that he was only reading the constitution and speaking against CAA.
In his bail plea, Azad claimed he has been falsely implicated as the allegations levelled against him in the FIR were “ill founded” and “improbable”.
(With PTI inputs)