Mohammed Zubair, the co-founder of Alt News, was granted bail on Wednesday by the Supreme Court of India in each of the six cases that had been brought against him in Uttar Pradesh. The apex court said, “No justification to keep him in continued custody and subject him to endless rounds of custody.” SC mandated that Zubair must be released by 6 o’clock today.
DY Chandrachud, Surya Kant, and AS Bopanna on a three-judge panel also dismissed the UP government’s request to have him refrain from tweeting. The bench said, “It’s like asking a lawyer not to argue… A person not to speak. Whatever he does, he will be responsible in law, but we can’t ask a journalist not to write.”
As it combined all the FIRs against Zubair and moved the cases from UP to Delhi, the SC stated that a comprehensive inquiry was necessary. After the journalist posted a bail bond in the amount of 20,000 before the CMM at the Patiala House court in Delhi, the supreme court ordered that he be expanded on bail in all of the FIRs.
The top court mandated the dissolution of a special investigative team (SIT) established by the UP government.
Supreme Court: We are of the view that alternate prayer (of clubbing FIRs) of petitioner should be transferred to special cell of Delhi Police. As a consequence, the SIT by Uttar Pradesh shall be rendered REDUNDANT & DISBANDED. #MohammadZubair
— LawBeat (@LawBeatInd) July 20, 2022
Zubair has been instructed to petition the Delhi High Court to get the FIRs dismissed.
The order directing the transfer of FIRs to Delhi will also apply to any pending complaints against the journalist in other states and in other jurisdictions.
In an earlier case brought by the Delhi Police for a tweet, he posted in 2018 that was said to have offended religious emotions, a Delhi court had given him bail.
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