Delhi court grants fact-checker Mohammed Zubair bail in 2018 tweet case
The Alt News co-founder will remain in jail as he faces six other cases in Uttar Pradesh related to hurting religious sentiments.
A Delhi court on Friday granted bail to fact-checker and Alt News co-founder Mohammed Zubair days after the Delhi Police arrested him for a 2018 tweet for allegedly hurting Hindu religious sentiments. He will remain in jail as he faces six other cases in Uttar Pradesh.
Additional sessions judge Devender Kumar Jangala granted Zubair bail in the Delhi case on a personal and surety bond of ₹50,000 and said he should not leave the country without the court’s permission. A detailed order was awaited.
Zubair moved the Supreme Court on Thursday for quashing six cases registered against him in Uttar Pradesh over his tweets, saying a network of influential persons were weaponising the criminal law machinery to deprive him of his liberty and to target him.
READ | Zubair's 2018 tweet not offence because…: 10 things Delhi court said
He said six of the seven cases were filed in Uttar Pradesh although the Delhi Police were probing the accusations against him. Zubair said that cases in Uttar Pradesh are a brazen and unconscionable abuse of legal process, and hence deserve to be quashed.
On Thursday, a court in Uttar Pradesh’s Hathras remanded Zubair in 14-day judicial custody in connection with a case registered there on July 4 over his alleged remarks on Hindu gods and goddesses in a 2018 tweet.
READ | Zubair gets bail in tweet case; Court says, ‘Hindu religion tolerant’
Zubair is currently in Delhi’s Tihar Prison. Officials said they were checking if the Hathras court has ordered his judicial custody in Tihar or in an Uttar Pradesh jail.
Other cases are pending against Zubair under similar charges in Sitapur, Ghaziabad, Muzaffarnagar, and Lakhimpur Kheri. He has been booked for promoting enmity between communities and hate speeches, propagated through his tweets.
READ | Zubair moves apex court for quashing of 6 UP FIRs
The maximum punishment under the charges invoked against Zubair is less than seven years in jail, which according to the Supreme Court rulings in 2014 and more recently on July 11, means that he should be arrested only if he is a flight risk or could influence witnesses. Police must also demonstrate that there is a necessity for an arrest.
The top court earlier granted Zubair interim bail on July 8 and later extended it till September 7 in connection with the case against him at Sitapur related to hurting religious sentiments