The Supreme Court on Tuesday granted bail to Alt News co-founder and fact-checker Mohammed Zubair in all FIRs lodged against him in Uttar Pradesh.
“No justification to keep him in continued custody and subject him to endless rounds of custody,” the top court said. The journalist must be released by 6 pm today, ordered SC.
The Supreme Court has done away with an earlier condition imposed on Zubair to not make any social media posts/ tweets.
“We can’t say that he won’t tweet again. It is like telling a lawyer that you should not argue. How can we tell a journalist that he will not write?…If there is any tweets against law, he will be answerable. How can be pass any anticipatory order that someone will not speak…”
The Court has further ordered disbanding of the SIT formed by UP Police for investigation of FIRs against Zubair. It has clubbed of all the FIRs and said that the case should be handled by one investigating authority, i.e. Special Cell of Delhi Police. The order stated,
“We are of the view that the alternate prayer of the petitioner should be accepted. All the FIRs registered against the petitioners, including the 6 FIRs noted above, should be transferred for investigation by Delhi Police.”
Last week, Mohammed Zubair filed a petition with the Supreme Court requesting that six FIRs filed against him in Uttar Pradesh be dismissed. The plea filed by him challenges the FIRs recorded in Lakhimpur Kheri, Sitapur, Muzaffarnagar, Ghaziabad, and two in Hathras. The petition also challenges the formation of the SIT by the Uttar Pradesh Police.
Zubair was arrested by Delhi Police last month over a complaint filed by a social media user over his old tweets where he had insulted Hindu Gods and Goddesses. He was arrested under Section 153 which deals with wantonly giving provocation with intent to cause riots and 295A of the Indian Penal Code which entails deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs.
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