While granting the bail, the Supreme Court said, “No justification to keep him in continued custody and subject him to endless rounds of custody.”
New Delhi: In a major relief, the Supreme Court on Wednesday granted bail to Alt News co-founder and fact-checker Mohammed Zubair in all the FIRs lodged against him in Uttar Pradesh. Zubair has to be released by 6pm Wednesday, the court said.
While granting the bail, the court said, “No justification to keep him in continued custody and subject him to endless rounds of custody.”
A division bench of Justices D Y Chandrachud, Surya Kant and A S Bopanna also rejected the UP government’s plea to stop him from tweeting. “It’s like asking a lawyer not to argue…A person not to speak. Whatever he does, he will be responsible in law but we can’t ask a journalist not to write,” the court said.
The Supreme Court also said that the FIRs needs to be clubbed and cases transferred from Uttar Pradesh to Delhi. Zubair has to furnish a bail bond of Rs 20,000.
The special investigation team (SIT) of the UP government is now redundant and disbanded, the top court ordered. Meanwhile, Zubair was asked to move the Delhi high court to quash the FIRs against him.
The transfer of FIRs to Delhi will be applicable to cases in other states and to any future complaints lodged against the journalist, the court said.
A court in Delhi on July 15 had granted bail to Zubair in a case filed against him for allegedly hurting religious sentiments through his tweet in 2018.
The court granted the bail after a bond of Rs 50,000 was furnished and asked Zubair not to leave the country without the court’s permission.