In relief to Alt News co-founder Mohammad Zubair, the Supreme Court on Wednesday granted him liberty to move the Delhi High Court for quashing of the FIR lodged against him at Uttar Pradesh’s Sitapur and also made it clear that the high court will decide his plea on merit uninfluenced by the adverse Allahabad High Court order.
A bench of Justices D.Y. Chandrachud and Hima Kohli noted that all the cases registered against Zubair in Uttar Pradesh have been transferred as per its order dated July 20 to the Special Cell of Delhi Police for investigation.
Advocate Vrinda Grover, representing Zubair, submitted this is an appeal filed challenging June 10 order of the Allahabad High Court rejecting his plea for quashing the FIR and there is nothing in it now and the court has already directed transfer of case to Delhi Police. However, she added that the Allahabad HC order should not come in the way.
Citing the July 20 order, the top court said Zubair will be able to pursue his rights and remedies available under law before the Delhi High Court. “Petition under section 482 of CrPC shall be considered on its own merit without the order of Allahabad High Court coming in the way,” it said.
On July 20, granting interim bail to Zubair, the top court had said: “We don’t find a reason for his deprivation of liberty to persist further. We direct Zubair to be released on bail on each of the FIRs in UP… existence of powers of arrest must be distinguished from the exercise of powers of arrest… power of arrest should be used sparingly.”
The top court clarified that Zubair will be entitled to bail in future FIRs in connection with tweets, which are already under investigation. It also granted him liberty to approach the Delhi High Court for seeking quashing of all the FIRs.