Umrao, who has a history of spreading hateful misinformation through social media, has posted false information on Twitter about the supposed murder of Bihari migrant workers in Tamil Nadu for speaking Hindi.
THE Delhi High Court on Tuesday granted transit anticipatory bail till March 20 to Bharatiya Janata Party Uttar Pradesh spokesperson and advocate Prashant Umrao, who is facing a first information report in Tamil Nadu for spreading rumours and false information through his Twitter account regarding alleged attacks on Bihari migrant workers in Tamil Nadu.
Justice Jasmeet Singh observed that he was not competent to examine the merits of the case and that his jurisdiction was limited to ensure access to justice for Umrao, adding that ultimately he would have to get bail from a competent court in Tamil Nadu. He refused to grant transit bail for 12 weeks, describing it as unreasonable and luxurious.
The advocate appearing for Umrao argued that his client was being witch-hunted. It was further contended on behalf of Umrao that he only shared credible news on his Twitter account. It was also submitted that Umrao is a lawyer with a standing of six years.
Senior advocate Sanjay Hedge, for the Tamil Nadu government, opposed the transit bail to Umrao, submitting that Umrao had been habitually spreading false information. He added that there could be nothing more anti-national than breaking India up and forcing migrant workers out of any part of the country. Hedge submitted that Umrao had neither retracted nor apologised for his false tweets.
“I wouldn’t have objected had there been any retraction of the same and an apology on the same medium,” Hedge submitted.
The Thoothukudi Central Police registered a case against Umrao for spreading wrong information, under Sections 153 (wantonly giving provocation, with intent to cause riot), 153A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence), 504 (intentional insult to provoke breach of the peace) and 505 (statements conducing to public mischief) of the Indian Penal Code on Saturday, March 4.
NDTV reported that Umrao had posted on Twitter that “12 migrants from Bihar were hung to death in Tamil Nadu for speaking in Hindi” while sharing an image of Bihar deputy chief minister Tejashwi Yadav with Tamil Nadu chief minister MK Stalin. Umrao has since deleted the tweet, but it was widely viewed and shared while online.
Umrao has a track record of spreading communal and hateful misinformation through his Twitter account, as documented by Alt News in 2018.
Click here to read the order.