Millennium Post

We're not country where one is told how to follow religion, Jain tells court

New Delhi: Jailed Aam Aadmi Party minister Satyendar Kumar Jain on Thursday told a Delhi court that "we're not a country where we are told how to follow a religion".

Jain made the submission during the hearing of his application, in which he has alleged that the Tihar jail administration had stopped giving him the food allowed "as per law" during his religious fast.

He was arrested in a money laundering case by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) based on a CBI FIR lodged against him in 2017 under the Prevention of Corruption Act.

"At least right now we're not a country where we are told how to follow a religion. State is nobody to tell how to follow. My religion is my religion," Jain's counsel Rahul Mehra told Special Judge Vikas Dhull while reading the relevant rules on fast on religious beliefs inside jails.

During the arguments, Mehra also accused authorities of being "petty".

"State should be large hearted not petty. They can provide the four nuts that are prescribed and fruits and vegetables," he said.

The court heard the arguments and reserved its order on Jain's application for Friday.

It, meanwhile, allowed Mehra to withdraw the application moved on Wednesday to restrain the media from allegedly running CCTV camera footage from inside Jain's prison cell, after the defence counsel said that "we will move high court".

On Wednesday, a fresh row erupted after videos emerged of the jailed minister purportedly eating uncooked vegetables and fruits in his Tihar jail cell, with Union minister Meenakshi Lekhi alleging he is enjoying facilities akin to a holiday resort.

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