Alt News co-founder Mohammed Zubair petitions Supreme Court to quash all six FIRs against him in Uttar Pradesh

In the alternative, he has prayed for clubbing of these FIRs with the one pending against him in Delhi, and also grant of interim bail in all matters. 

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FACED with multiple First Information Reports (‘FIRs) over his tweets, fact-checking website Alt-news co-founder Mohammed Zubair has knocked on the doors of the Supreme Court seeking to quash all the six FIRs against him in Uttar Pradesh (‘UP’) which have been transferred to a Special Investigation Team (‘SIT’) formed by the UP government.

In the alternative, Zubair has requested the court to club all the FIRs with an FIR filed in Delhi in which he was first arrested on June 27. In addition, he has sought interim bail in all six FIRs. The petition has been drafted by advocates Vrinda Grover, Soutik Banerjee, Devika Tulsiani and Mannat Tipnis, and filed through Advocate-on-Record Aakarsh Kamra.

On Tuesday, the UP government constituted a two-member SIT to probe six cases lodged against Zubair. Of the six cases, two cases are lodged in Hathras district, while one case is registered in Sitapur, Lakhimpur Kheri, Ghaziabad and Muzaffarnagar each. In the Sitapur case, Zubair was granted interim bail by the Supreme Court. However, he was soon thereafter sent to 14-day judicial custody in the Lakhimpur case.

Earlier today, Zubair was sent to 14-day judicial custody by a Hathras court. He is facing charges of allegedly hurting the religious sentiments of the Hindu community under Section 153A (promoting enmity between different groups on ground of religion, race, etc.), 295A (deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings of any class) and 298 (uttering, words, etc., with deliberate intent to wound the religious feelings of any person) of Indian Penal Code (‘IPC’), and Section 67 (publishing or transmitting obscene material in electronic form) of the Information Technology Act.

In the Delhi FIR, a Sessions court in Delhi on Thursday reserved the order on Zubair’s bail plea. This FIR is under Sections 153A and 295A of the IPC. Later, the police added Sections 120B (criminal conspiracy) and 201 (causing disappearance of evidence of offence, or giving false information to screen offender) of the IPC, and Section 35 (punishment for contravention of any provision of the Act) of the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, to the FIR.

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