'Vicious cycle': SC asks UP Police to not to take action against Zubair till July 20
New Delhi, July 18, 2022
The Supreme Court on Monday orally remarked that Alt News co-founder Mohammed Zubair seems to get bail in one case and remanded in another in a "vicious cycle", as it ordered that no "precipitative action" be taken in 5 FIRs registered against him by the Uttar Pradesh Police until the next hearing on Wednesday.
A bench of Justices D. Y. Chandrachud and A. S. Bopanna issued notice on the plea filed by Zubair seeking to quash the FIRs registered against him by the UP Police and scheduled the matter for further hearing on July 20.
During the hearing, Justice Chandrachud orally remarked "contents of all FIRs seem to be similar. But the problem is the vicious cycle. He gets interim bail in one case but gets arrested for some other case".
Zubair's plea was taken up after advocate Vrinda Grover sought urgent hearing on the matter.
She contended that there are now six FIRs in UP -- two in Hathras, and one each in Lakhimpur Kheri, Muzaffarnagar, Ghaziabad, and Sitapur. She added that as soon as the top court granted relief to her client in Sitapur case, a warrant came in case of Lakhimpur Kheri and pointed out that last week, a Delhi court granted him bail in Delhi FIR.
Grover said all the FIRs are based on old tweets and that the police now say that they are looking into the larger conspiracy and funding. She submitted that all these issues are already covered by the FIR registered in Delhi and her client's electronic devices have already been seized.
"This kind of targeting must end. This is an abuse of the process of law," she said.
After hearing arguments, the bench said: "Since the petition is not on board today, we direct the registry to list the matter on July 20. In the meantime, we direct that no precipitative action whatsoever be taken against the petitioner in 5 FIRs without the leave of the court."
Zubair moved the Supreme Court seeking to quash six FIRs registered against him by the Uttar Pradesh Police, over his tweets and also sought interim bail in the FIRs. The plea has also challenged the constitution of a special investigative team (SIT) to probe these cases.
On July 12, the Supreme Court extended the interim bail it granted to Zubair in the case registered against him at Sitapur.
The top court has listed the matter for final disposal on September 7. The bench noted that the state government seeks time to file a counter affidavit and allowed the government to file a reply within 4 weeks and rejoinder within 2 weeks thereafter. "Interim bail in Sitapur FIR case shall continue till further orders. List for final disposal on September 7, 2022," the bench said.