Mohammad Zubair, co-founder of Alt News (ANI photo)

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court On Friday he granted a bail bond to the co-founder of the fact-checking website Alt News Mohammad Zubari in the case filed against him in Sitapur in Uttar Pradesh and also notified the state police of his request to challenge the order of the Allahabad High Court.
The Judges Indira Banerjee and JK Maheshwari gave Zubair bail in an appeal against the Allahabad High Court order that refused to cancel FIR recorded for a tweet calling three Hindu seers “hate sellers”.
The provisional bail to Zubair was granted for 5 days on the condition that he does not post new tweets on the matter relating to the case and does not leave the jurisdiction of the Judiciary Court of Sitapur.
The apex court also said Zubair will not tamper with electronic evidence in Bengaluru or elsewhere.
general Attorney Tushar Mehta informed the Supreme Court that Zubair’s lawyer yesterday said there is a threat to his life.
“He is in custody, his bail was rejected yesterday by the Sitapur court and he was sent to custody. This fact has not been revealed by him to the supreme court. It is a clear targeted suppression of the facts,” Mehta said.
“Such conduct of repression of facts should not be encouraged. He is asking for bail from the Supreme Court without telling this court that his bail was rejected yesterday by the Sitapur court,” he added.
Senior attorney Colin Gonsalves, representing Zubair, told the Supreme Court that the petition said Sitapur police seek police custody of Zubair. The order under appeal in apex court is of the Allahabad High Court.
Gonsalves says no criminal proceedings can be brought against Zubair. “The basis of this case is a tweet. We seek the cancellation of the proceedings and questions about the police or judicial custody are now irrelevant. There is no case and the proceedings must be canceled.”
Zubair turned to the Supreme Court contesting the June 10 order of the Allahabad High Court in which it refused to nullify a FIR filed against him in Sitapur, Uttar Pradesh, saying it was premature to interfere when the investigation it was in a preliminary stage.
Appealing against the High Court order, Zubair also asked for an order to suspend the investigation into the case and an order for the UP police not to “prosecute, prosecute or arrest him” on the basis of the FIR.
FIR was recorded for a tweet in which he allegedly called Hindu seers Yati Narsinghan and Saraswati, Bajrang Muni and Anand Swaroop “hate avengers” on Twitter.
FIR was filed against Zubai on June 1 under Section 295 (A) of the IPC and Section 67 of the IT Act at Khairabad Police Station in Sitapur District for deliberately “insulting the religious sentiments” of the fortune tellers.
His appeal in apex court stated that FIR’s allegations against him are “absolutely false and unfounded”.
He claimed he was innocent and claimed he did not commit any crime.
“The police threaten to arrest the petitioner (Zubair) and the petitioner’s life and freedom are in jeopardy. The inclusion of this criminal offense in the FIR portrays the nonchalant, malicious and arbitrary way the respondents (UP police) acted against the appellant “, reads the appeal.
He further stated: “There is a new strategy behind the police in municipal crime cases. That is to record FIR against those who engage in hate speech and municipal crimes, as well as involve all secular elements who monitor such crimes and protest against police inaction against offenders. This is done with the intention of stifling the freedom of speech of secular people in society who oppose community elements and to frighten them so that they no longer protest. It is therefore imperative that this Court understands this new strategy and nip it in the bud so that secular social activism continues on its way and plays the most necessary role in society to resist communalism. ”
Zubair is already in judicial custody in a case registered by the Delhi police on suspicion of hurting religious feelings over a tweet he posted in 2018. (ANI)


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