Vicious cycle, says SC on FIRs against Mohd Zubair in UP, issues interim protective order
Justice DY Chandrachud asked courts and police in Uttar Pradesh not to take precipitative action on five FIRs lodged against him in the state until the SC hears the matter next on Wednesday.
Supreme Court on Monday issued an interim protective order in a petition filed by Alt News co-founder and fact-checker Mohammed Zubair and asked courts and police in Uttar Pradesh not to take precipitative action on five FIRs lodged against him in the state until the SC hears the matter next on Wednesday.
The order came while hearing Zubair's petition seeking an urgent hearing on quashing of six first information reports (FIRs) lodged against him in several districts of Uttar Pradesh for allegedly outraging religious feelings, making sarcastic remarks on news anchors, disrespecting Hindu gods and sharing inflammatory posts.
The top court also issued a notice to the Uttar Pradesh government on Zubair's plea seeking interim bail, quashing of all six FIRs against him and challenging the constitution of an SIT.
Also read | On Mohd Zubair's plea to cancel UP FIRs, what CJI told the journalist
According to a Livelaw report, during the hearing, Justice Chandrachud said, “Contents of all FIRs seem to be similar. What seems to be happening is as he gets bail one case, he is remanded in another. This vicious cycle is continuing.”
Two cases against the journalist were registered in Hathras, while one each was lodged in Ghaziabad, Muzaffarnagar, Lakhimpur Kheri and Sitapur.
The SC had earlier granted him interim bail in the case registered in Sitapur, following which he was granted regular bail by the Patiala House Court in the case registered by the Delhi Police.
Earlier in the day, a bench headed by Chief Justice NV Ramana took note of the submissions made by Zubair's lawyer Vrinda Grover that the petitioner, a fact checker and journalist, had been facing a slew of FIRs and his plea needed an urgent hearing.
Zubair was arrested last month by the Delhi Police in connection with a tweet he had posted in 2018 on a Hindu deity. He was granted bail in the case on Friday with the court observing that "the voice of dissent is necessary for a healthy democracy".
He, however, continued to remain behind the bars due to the FIRs registered against him by the UP Police for allegedly hurting religious sentiments.