Court grants Delhi police time to respond to fact-checker Mohammed Zubair’s appeal against arrest

The case will be heard on September 15.

New Delhi:

The Delhi High Court on Wednesday granted Delhi police time to respond to Alt News co-founder Mohammed Zubair’s plea against his arrest and exercise of search and seizure in a case related to an allegedly objectionable tweet. which he published in 2018.

Barrister Vrinda Grover, representing the petitioner, told the High Court that the magistrates’ court granted him bail earlier this month, but urged the bench to grant him the relief sought in the petition.

The Delhi Police lawyer has asked Judge Purushaindra Kumar Kaurav for four weeks to file a response. “Let the matter be raised after four weeks for review,” the judge said.

The case will be heard on September 15. On July 1, the court had issued a notice of Zubair’s motion and given the investigative body two weeks to file its plea answer challenging the legality and merits of the court’s June 28 order. of first instance. granting custody of the fact-checking website founder to the police for four days.

Mohammed Zubair was arrested by Delhi police on June 27 for allegedly offending religious feelings through one of his tweets. Grover had argued in court that the custody order issued after the petitioner’s arrest was mechanical and mindless and that no offense had been committed against him.

“It’s a stab at my right to privacy. I (Zubair) am a journalist and my laptop is in their custody,” she said. Grover had urged the court to issue an opinion on the motion to “decide on the legality” of the dismissal and submit the search and seizure to the outcome of the case. As an interim measure, Grover had asked that the police not venture into Mohammed Zubair’s laptop until the request had been decided by the High Court, as the tweet had been made via a mobile phone. and not the computer.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the Delhi Police, had raised objections to whether the petition could go ahead and said the FIR was just an ‘opening of process’ and the investigative body could find evidence to show that there is no violation or that there is no is a serious violation that is not part of the FIR.

Earlier in June, a case was filed against Mohammed Zubair under Sections 153A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, birthplace, language, etc.) and 295A ( willful and malicious act intended to outrage religious feelings) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

Police said the case was filed on the complaint of a Twitter user who accused him of hurting religious feelings.

The police, while seeking a five-day extension of the custody of Mohammed Zubair, had alleged in the trial court that the defendant was following a pattern of using religious tweets in an attempt to gain fame and that there had been a deliberate effort to create social discord and hurt religious feelings.

The investigative agency also said the accused joined the investigation but did not cooperate and that various items from his phone were deleted.

(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

Virginia C. Taylor