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SC Allows Fact-Checker Mohammed Zubair To Move Delhi HC Against Sitapur FIR

In July 2022, the Supreme Court granted interim bail to Zubair in all FIRs against him.

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SC Allows Fact-Checker Mohammed Zubair To Move Delhi HC Against Sitapur FIR
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The Supreme Court on Wednesday, 7 September, allowed Alt News co-founder Mohammed Zubair to move the Delhi High Court for quashing of the FIR lodged against him at Sitapur in Uttar Pradesh.

The apex court was hearing a petition challenging a Allahabad High Court order dated 10 June 2022, which rejected Zubair's plea for quashing of the FIR.

Advocate Vrinda Grover, appearing for Zubair, said that she is seeking directions for the Allahabad High Court order to not come in the way.

The Supreme Court stated that Zubair's petition will be decided on its own merit, uninfluenced by the order of the Allahabad High Court, which had denied him relief.

The FIR in question was lodged by Bhagwan Sharan, Sitapur district head of the Rashtriya Hindu Sher Sena, a Hindutva organisation. Sharan alleged that a tweet by Zubair had hurt his religious sentiments.

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This comes after the Supreme Court in July granted interim bail to fact-checker Zubair in all existing and future FIRs against him in connection with “the same subject matter,” that is, his tweets. It also transferred all the cases against Zubair in UP to Delhi.

What Did the Supreme Court Say?

The two-judge bench comprising Justices DY Chandrachud and Hima Kohli noted that all the cases lodged against Zubair in Uttar Pradesh, including the one in Sitapur, have been transferred, as per the top court's order dated 20 July, to the special cell of Delhi Police for investigation.

"In terms of liberty which was granted in order dated 20 July 2022, the petitioner would be able to pursue his rights and remedies available under law before the Delhi High Court. In such an event, the petition under section 482 of CrPC (FIR quashing) shall be considered on its own merit without the order of Allahabad High Court coming in the way," the bench said.

The bench also noted the submission of Additional Advocate General Garima Prashad that a copy of the letter from the special secretary dated 5 September, stating that the case registered in Sitapur has been transferred to the special cell of Delhi Police, has been received.
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While granting bail to Zubair in July 2022, the Supreme Court said that the power of arrest must be exercised sparingly and that they cannot stop a journalist from tweeting.

"Can a lawyer be restrained from arguing?" "How can a journalist be restrained from tweeting and writing? If he violates any law by tweeting or for that matter any citizen speaking in public or private, then he can be proceeded as per the law," the apex court said, while rejecting the UP government's prayer to restrain Zubair from tweeting in the future.

(With inputs from PTI.)

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Topics:   Supreme Court   Alt News   Mohammed Zubair 

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