A Delhi court on Tuesday agreed to modify the conditions of bail granted to Bhim Army chief Chandra Shekhar Azad, who was accused of inciting people during an anti-Citizenship Amendment Act protest at Jama Masjid and the Daryaganj area of the National Capital in December 2019.
Modifying the original condition barring Azad from Delhi for a duration of four weeks, Additional Sessions Judge Kamini Lau on Tuesday allowed him to visit the city for activities regarding the upcoming Assembly polls. Azad is also permitted to travel to Delhi for the medical treatment he is undergoing at AIIMS.
In the order allowing Azad to travel to Delhi ahead of the Assembly election scheduled for 8 February, Lau said, "In a democracy when an election is the biggest celebration, which should have maximum participation, it is fair that he should be allowed to participate."
In lieu of the original condition, the court directed Azad to provide a schedule of his visit, whether for medical or election purposes, to the Deputy Commissioner of Police (Crime). He was also instructed to appear before the DCP on every Saturday of his visits to Delhi. Originally, he had been asked to make his presence with the SHO in Uttar Pradesh's Saharanpur every Saturday.
"Instead of marking attendance in Saharanpur every Saturday, he should record his presence whenever he is in the city. If he is in Delhi on a Saturday, he should appear before DCP Crime. If he isn't in either place, he'll inform the DCP of his whereabouts by phone or email," the court said. It also instructed Azad to stay at the address mentioned in the records on his visits to Delhi.
Judge Lau, while hearing the petition filed by Azad's advocates Mehmood Pracha and OP Bharti seeking modifications to the conditions of bail, noted that the prosecution was unable to provide material to prove that Azad's presence in Delhi would incite violence.
"Don't make these allegations and submissions when there is no material," Lau said.
I don't find even one FIR where provisions against hate speech have been invoked: Judge
— Bar & Bench (@barandbench) January 21, 2020
The 17 January plea challenging the conditions said Azad was "not a criminal" and claimed that imposing such conditions were wrong and undemocratic. Asserting that Azad had a local residence in Delhi, the petition also said that barring him from Delhi would affect his "fundamental rights" as a social worker, Live Law reported.
In the hearing on Tuesday, Lau also clarified that the court hadn't directed Azad to seek permission from Delhi Police before visiting the city for treatment. "I only asked you (Azad) to inform so that an escort may be provided," she said.
Lau also discarded the allegation that the Bhim Army chief had indulged in hate speech, due to the prosecution's lack of evidence.
On 15 January, the court had granted bail to Azad and imposed several conditions on him. In addition to being barred from Delhi for four weeks, the Bhim Army chief had been barred from holding any protest or dharna till voting in Delhi Assembly elections concluded.
With inputs from agencies
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Updated Date: Jan 21, 2020 23:46:47 IST