Supreme Court grants interim bail to Mohammed Zubair in 'hate monger' tweet case

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Court has asked Zubair not to post any further tweets or tamper with evidence. It also clarified that the present order pertains only to the Sitapur case and not any other case. 

A Supreme Court bench of Justices Indira Banerjee and J.K.Maheshwari, today granted an interim bail of fiver days to Mohammed Zubair. The order was paseed in a plea by Alt News co-founder challenging Allahabad High Court’s order refusing to quash the First Information Report (FIR) lodged against him over his tweet.

Zubair had allegedly called Bajrang Muni a 'hate monger' and insulted Yati Narsinghanand and Anand Swaroop in his tweets. 

Court has asked Zubair not to post any further tweets or tamper with evidence. Moreover, it also clarified that this order pertains only to the Sitapur case and not any other case. Yesterday, a local court in Sitapur rejected Zubair's bail plea in this case. 

Appearing for Zubair, Colin Gonsavles, Sr. Adv submitted that Zubair was merely calling out hate speech delivered by the people mentioned in his tweets and not anything else.

He argued that Zubair had intimated to the police about the instances of hate speech asking them to take action. It was Gonsalves' contention that while Zubair is in jail for pointing out hate speech, the persons who actually made it are out on bail. 

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the State of UP submitted that Zubair has not approached the court with clean hands. He argued that Zubair has suppressed many facts in the petition. It was SG's contention that in this application filed yesterday before the Supreme Court, the order of Judicial Magistrate First Class, Sitapur rejecting his bail has not been revealed.

SG said, "The Allahabad High Court passed the impugned order on June 10, the SLP was filed on June 15 while it was mentioned yesterday just to sensationlise the issue". 

ASG SV Raju, appearing for the Investigating Officer, contended that if Zubair was indeed calling out hate speeches, he should have complained to the police as opposed posting them on twitter. 

The court, on hearing their submissions, observed that they will grant an interim bail for a period of five days in this case while the investigation in other cases can go on.

It is to be noted that Zubair is in judicial custody of the Delhi police in the case pertaining to another alleged offensive tweet he made in the year 2018. 

The Allahabad High Court bench of Justices Ajai Kumar Srivastava-I and Ramesh Sinha had observed that prima facie, the perusal of the records made out alleged offences at that stage, and there appeared to be sufficient ground for investigation in the case.

The FIR against Zubair was lodged on June 1 under Sections 295-A of the Indian Penal Code and Section 67 of the Information Technology Act, 2000 at Police Station Khairabad, District Sitapur on basis of a complaint. 

The complainant had alleged that on May 27, he saw a tweet posted by Zubair where he used the offensive term "hate mongers" against the manager of revered religious place Badi Sanghat and National Patron of National Hindu Sher Sena, Mahant Bajrang Muni.

Colin Gonsalve, Sr. Adv, mentioned the matter yesterday before the Apex Court and sought an urgent listing. He said, “A look at the FIR will show that no crime has been made out. There is a death threat to him, I am worried for him.”

Case Title: Mohammed Zubair Vs State of UP