Friday, May 24, 2024

Delhi Court grants bail to Mohammed Zubair in case over 2018 tweet

Delhi Court Friday allowed bail to Alt News co-founder and prominent Muslim journalist Mohammed Zubair in a “promoting enmity” and FCRA case connected to a 2018 tweet.

He will stay in jail over two more cases.

Mohammed Zubair was arrested on June 27 by the Delhi Police over his four-year-old tweet sharing a screenshot from a popular Hindi movie.

The co-founder of fact-check website Alt News has requested the Supreme Court to cancel six cases filed against him by the Uttar Pradesh Police.

He has also asked that the Special Investigation Team formed to investigate the cases be called off.

The judge directed him to furnish a bail bond of Rs 50,000 with one surety, and to not leave the country without the court’s permission.

On Friday, Additional Sessions Judge Devender Kumar Jangala, in his order, observed that democracy “can neither work nor prosper” unless citizens express their views. “Undoubtedly, free speech is the proper foundation of a democratic society,” he said.

The judgement also referred to the text “Before 2014 and after 2014” that Zubair had written in the tweet in an apparent reference to the Narendra Modi-led government coming to power. It said that criticism of a political party did not justify invoking the criminal charges, and that dissent was necessary for a healthy democracy.

The judge said that the police had failed to establish the identity of the Twitter user who was offended by Zubair’s post. He also said the tweet was posted in 2018, and no complaint had earlier been made that the post was offensive to the Hindu religion.

The judgement also noted that the film Kissi Se Na Kehna was approved by the Central Board of Film Certification and has been available for public viewing since its release in 1983.

(More to follow…)

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