Updated: Wed, 20 Jul 2022 03:47 PM IST
The Supreme Court on Wednesday granted interim protection to Alt News co-founder Mohammad Zubair in all six cases registered against him in Uttar Pradesh over his tweets allegedly hurting religious sentiments and ordered that he will be released on bail if any other FIR is lodged against him for the same cause of action.
The top court also clubbed all FIRs filed against him in Uttar Pradesh with the complaint filed in Delhi and said that any future FIR against him will also be clubbed with the FIR in Delhi.
A bench of Justices DY Chandrachud, Surya Kant, and AS Bopanna said that Zubair will be enlarged on bail in all the FIRs lodged in UP after depositing a bail bond of Rs 20,000 with Chief Metropolitan Magistrate at Patiala House Court, New Delhi.
The Supreme Court also allowed Mohammad Zubair to approach the Delhi High Court for quashing all or any new FIR filed against him. The apex court also disbanded a UP police Special Investigation Team formed by the state government to investigate the FIRs against Zubair.
A bench of Justices DY Chandrachud and AS Bopanna had on Monday stayed precipitative action against Zubair in connection with five FIRs filed against him in Uttar Pradesh, saying it appears that he is being taken into custody in another FIR if he gets bail in one and that the content of the FIRs appeared similar.
"Contents of all FIRs seem to be similar. What seems to be happening is, as he gets bail in one case, he is remanded in another. This vicious cycle is continuing," said Justice Chandrachud.
Zubair approached the apex court challenging the FIRs registered at six places in Uttar Pradesh -- Sitapur, Lakhimpur Kheri, Muzaffarnagar, Ghaziabad and Hathras (two FIRs). He also challenged the constitution of the two-member Special Investigation Team (SIT) by the Uttar Pradesh government.
In the plea, Zubair said his personal liberty has been completely jeopardized without following the due procedure established by law and requested the court either to quash the six FIRs in UP or club all of them with the FIR at Delhi, where he was first arrested, to avoid multiplicity of proceedings and prolonged detention.