The Supreme court has granted bail to Alt news co-founder and journalist Mohammed Zubair in all 6 cases registered against him in Uttar Pradesh. SC ordered that all the FIRs registered against Zubair, including the 6 FIRs registered against him in UP, be transferred for investigation by Delhi Police.
Existence of power of arrest must be pursued sparingly by the Police, the bench led by Justice Chandrachud said.
There is “no justification” to keep Zubair in continued custody any further and subject him to diverse proceedings when the gravamen of allegations arises from the Tweets which forms part of investigation by Delhi Police, in which case he has already been granted bail, the bench observed.
“Essentially, the gravamen of the FIRs pertain to the tweets. Having regard to the fact that the petitioner has been subjected to comprehensive investigation by the Delhi police, we find no reason for his deprivation of personal liberty to persis,” Justice Chandrachud was quoted as saying by LiveLaw.
The SC also refused to impose a bail condition barring Zubair from posting any tweets in future.
“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…”, Justice Chandrachud told the Additional Advocate General of UP, LiveLaw reported.
Going step further, the Supreme Court also ordered disbanding of the SIT formed by UP Police for investigation of FIRs against Zubair.
The court also said that the direction to transfer all UP FIRs to Delhi Police Special Cell shall apply to future FIRs which may be registered in future on the basis of tweets, and Zubari will be entitled to bail in these cases.
Zubair, meanwhile, will be at liberty to seek quashing of the FIRs before the Delhi High Court, the court clarified.
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