Indian court orders release of journalist Mohammad Zubair

The Indian Supreme Court ordered release of co-founder of Alt News Mohammed Zubair, today, in all the six FIRs filed against him in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh.

The Supreme Court bench headed by Justice D Y Chandrachud said there was absolutely no justification in keeping Zubair in custody when the Delhi court has granted him bail in a FIR registered by its special cell.

“We are of the view that he should be released on interim bail on all FIRs. It’s a set principle of law that power of arrests must be pursued sparingly. In present case no justification to keep him in continued detention and subject him to an endless round of proceedings in various courts,” the Supreme Court said.

The court also done away with an earlier condition imposed on Zubair to not make any social media posts/tweets. “We can’t say he wont tweet again. It is like telling a lawyer that you should not argue. How can we tell a journalist that he will not write?…”

The fact-checker Mohammad Zubair was arrested on June 28 by the Delhi police over a 2018 tweet.

The court said Zubair will be released on interim bail by presenting a bail bond of Rs 20,000 before the magistrate court at Patiala house. The bench also added that it would be fair that all the FIRs are clubbed together and investigated by one authority. The court further said that overlapping of FIRs, emanating from the tweets, require consolidation of FIRs rather than piecemeal investigation by diverse police authorities.

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