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SC grants interim bail to Alt News co-founder Mohammad Zubair in Sitapur case  

SC grants interim bail to Alt News co-founder Mohammad Zubair in Sitapur case  

A two-judge bench of the Supreme Court comprising of Justices Indira Banerjee and JK Maheshwari has granted interim bail for five days to Zubair on the condition that he will not tweet about the case and not leave the jurisdiction of the Sitapur Magistrate’s court.

The top court also issued a notice to the Uttar Pradesh police on Zubair’s plea challenging the Allahabad High Court order against him. The top court also issued a notice to the Uttar Pradesh police on Zubair’s plea challenging the Allahabad High Court order against him.

 The Supreme Court (SC) has granted an interim bail to Mohammad Zubair, co-founder of the fact-checking portal Alt News, in the case registered against him in Uttar Pradesh’s Sitapur. The top court also issued a notice to the Uttar Pradesh police on Zubair’s plea challenging the Allahabad High Court order against him.  

A two-judge bench of the Supreme Court comprising of Justices Indira Banerjee and JK Maheshwari has granted interim bail for five days to Zubair on the condition that he will not tweet about the case and not leave the jurisdiction of the Sitapur Magistrate’s court.

Even though Zubair has been granted bail in the Sitapur case, he will remain under judicial custody in Delhi, as per the top court. The top court added that it has not impeded the investigation or stayed it in any manner.  

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the UP Police, said that after this ruling, Zubair is in the custody of Delhi court.  Senior advocate Colin Gonsalves, appearing for Zubair, informed the two-judge bench that Sitapur police is seeking Zubair’s police custody and that they are challenging the order of the Allahabad High Court.  

Gonsalves said, “A person who made hate speech has been granted bail but secular tweeter who exposed the venomous language has been jailed.” He added, “I have challenged Allahabad HC verdict dismissing the anticipatory bail and quashing petition. My argument here and before the HC is that there is no ground for FIR… I’m asking for quashing FIR.”

The Allahabad HC had issued an order refusing to quash the FIR against Zubair for a tweet wherein he allegedly called Hindu seers as ‘hate mongers.’ Zubair was charged under section 295A for deliberate & malicious act intended to outrage religious feelings and section 153A for promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, language, etc.

During the course of the hearing Solicitor General Mehta told the court, “Such conduct of suppression of facts should not be encouraged. He is seeking bail from the Supreme Court without telling this court that his bail was rejected yesterday by the Sitapur court.”  

(With inputs from agencies, India Today)