Zubair gets relief as SC orders no further action in UP FIRs
The Supreme Court on Monday directed that no precipitative steps be taken against Alt News co-founder Mohammad Zubair in connection with five FIRs lodged against him in Uttar Pradesh for allegedly outraging religious feelings. The apex court observed that it seems to be a “vicious cycle” where the moment Zubair gets bail in one case, there is another FIR against him. A bench of Justices D Y Chandrachud and A S Bopanna said it would hear on July 20 the plea filed by Zubair, seeking quashing of these FIRs.
“In the meantime, we direct that no precipitative steps shall be taken against the petitioner (Zubair) in connection with any of the five FIRs, which have been extracted above (in the order), without the leave of this court,” the bench said while issuing notice on his plea.
“What seems to be happening is the moment he got bail in Delhi, he got bail in Sitapur, the moment that happens, there is another FIR or he is produced in another FIR,” the bench orally observed while terming it a “vicious cycle”.
The bench observed that it has requested Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, who was present in the court, to assist in the matter. “What is happening Mr. Solicitor is that contents of all these FIRs seem to be similar,” the bench observed during the hearing.
Earlier in the day, advocate Vrinda Grover, appearing for Zubair, had mentioned the matter for urgent listing before a bench headed by Chief Justice N V Ramana. The CJI directed Grover to mention Justice Chandrachu’s Bench as it was hearing Zubair’s earlier bail petition.
In the order, Justice Chandrachud-led bench noted that the subject matter of the present proceedings under Article 32 of the Constitution arises from five FIRs lodged against the petitioner. “Since the petition is not on board today, we direct the registry to list it on July 20,” the bench said. During the hearing, Grover said that now six FIRs have been registered in Uttar Pradesh against Zubair — two in Hathras, one each in Sitapur, Lakhimpur Kheri, Muzaffarnagar, and Ghaziabad.
She said once the apex court granted him interim bail in FIR lodged at Sitapur, a warrant in another FIR came. The fresh plea of Zubair has also challenged the Constitution of the Special Investigation Team (SIT) by the Uttar Pradesh government to probe these cases. The plea said all the FIRs filed in Uttar Pradesh that has been transferred to the SIT for investigation are the subject matter of the FIR which is being probed by the Delhi Police Special Cell.
While mentioning the matter before the Justice Chandrachud-led bench, Grover had informed the court that Zubair is being produced before Hathras court today and the remand order will be passed. She had said that the matter requires an urgent hearing as there is a threat to his life. “The FIR was lodged against Zubair by the complainant after a cash prize was put on his head. This is the same FIRs and same allegations and same tweet. He is being produced before different courts of UP and remanded to judicial custody. Today, he is being produced before Hathras court,” she said.
After the case was registered by Delhi Police, separate FIRs have been lodged against Zubair in Sitapur, Lakhimpur Kheri, Ghaziabad, Muzaffarnagar, and Hathras districts of Uttar Pradesh on charges of allegedly hurting religious feelings, making sarcastic remarks toward news anchors, disrespecting Hindu gods, and inflammatory posts.
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