“Vicious Cycle”: SC Halts Actions Against Mohammed Zubair In UP FIRs Until July 20

Temporary relief for Alt-News Co-founder Mohammed Zubair as the court asked the police to stop taking action against him in 5 cases.

Mumbai: The Supreme Court has agreed to hear Zubair’s plea as it noticed the predicament in Mohammed Zubair’s case and has even asked the Uttar Pradesh Police to not take any step against him until the next hearing which is on Wednesday, July 20, giving a sense of relief to the Alt- News co-founder.

Zubair has sought bail and quashing of earlier  six FIRs filed against him that were registered in UP’s Sitapur, Lakhimpur Kheri, Ghaziabad, Muzaffarnagar, and Hathras districts for allegedly outraging the religious sentiments of people. “This kind of targeting must end. This is an abuse of the process of law,” his lawyer, Vrinda Grover, said in a hearing.

The Apex Court’s bench comprising Justices DY Chandrachud and AS Bopanna, while declaring that it would hear Zubair’s plea on July 20, said: “What we can say is that there should be no precipitatory steps against him until then.”

As the UP government requested that there be no halt on other courts passing orders, Justice Chandrachud said, “But the problem is the vicious cycle. He gets interim bail in one case but gets arrested for some other case.”

The UN also objected to what is happening to Mohammed Zubair saying that journalists should not be jailed anywhere around the globe for what they write or express through tweets.

As Zubair’s lawyer mentioned about the plea today by pointing out the fact that there are 6 cases against him, a few from last year too, for which he has been sent to judicial custody seizing his devices too, and as he gets relief from one he is caught in for another.

On this, Tushar Mehta, the Solicitor General who is showing up for the UP government, said that he has not indeed got the chance to see the petition. The state had prior nowadays restricted this hearing, saying it was not mindful of the facts, hence it be listened tomorrow. Zubair’s lawyer, arguing for safeguard, pointed out, “The maximum punishment for charges levelled is three years.”

When Tushar Mehta addressed the criticalness, Vrinda Grover told the court, “They declared cash rewards for information of Mohammed Zubair. The complainant within the Hathras case, a man called Deepak Sharma, made communal assertions on social media when filing the complaint. Are these the kind of complaints for which the journalist be punished?” Grover asked.

She pointed out that the Hathras FIR was filed on July 4, when Mr Zubair was already in the custody of Delhi Police.


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