Supreme Court: In a big relief to Alt News Co-founder and fact checker Mohammed Zubair, the 3-judge bench of Dr. DY Chandrachud, Surya Kant and AS Bopanna, JJ has directed that Zubair will continue to remain enlarged on bail, subject to his filing a personal release bond in the amount of Rs 20,000 with respect to 6 FIRs filed against him at various places.

Most of the FIRs implicate offences (Sections 153A, 295A and 298 IPC and Section 67 IT Act) which are punishable for up to three years’ imprisonment. It has been alleged that Zubair has hurt religious feelings through his tweets.

The 6 FIRs filed in Ghaziabad, Chandauli, Lakhimpur, Sitapur, Hathras have also been transferred from the Uttar Pradesh Police to the Special Cell of the Delhi Police, thereby disbanding the SIT formed by the Director General of Police, Uttar Pradesh on 10 July 2022. If any other related FIR is filed against Zubair then the same will also be transferred to the Special Cell of the Delhi Police and Zubair shall be entitled to the order of interim bail.

Zubair will also be at liberty to pursue his rights and remedies in proceedings under Article 226 of the Constitution/ Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure 1973 in respect of the FIRs which have been or which may be registered against him before the High Court of Delhi.

The Court directed that the bail bonds in compliance with the directions shall be presented before the Chief Judicial Magistrate at the Patiala House Courts, Delhi. Zubair was directed to be released from Tihar Jail immediately after the presentation of the bail bonds.

As far as the FIR registered at Muzaffarnagar is concerned wherein the charge-sheet under Section 173 of the Code of Criminal Procedure 1973 has been filed, the Court transferred the proceedings to the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Patiala House Courts and directed the matter is to be taken up from the stage that has reached before the earlier Court. The petitioner has been enlarged on bail. The order enlarging the petitioner on bail shall continue to remain in force.

It is important to note that Zubair has been granted regular bail on 15 July 2022 by the Additional Sessions Judge, Patiala House Courts, Delhi in connection with one FIR dated 20 June 2022 lodged in Delhi. Also, he was directed to be enlarged on interim bail by an order dated 8 July 2022 passed by the Supreme Court in connection with FIR dated 1 June 2022 lodged at District Sitapur.

[Mohammed Zubair v. State of NCT of Delhi, 2022 SCC OnLine SC 897, order dated 20.07.2022]

For Petitioner(s): Advocates Vrinda Grover, Soutik Banerjee, Mannat Tipnis, Devika Tulsiani and Aakarsh Kamra

For Respondent(s): AAG Garima Prashad, Advocates Adarsh Upadhyay, Harsh Mishra, Aman Pathak

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