written by Rhythm Agal
The Supreme Court granted interim bail for 5 days to Mohammed Zubair, the co-founder of fact checking website Alt News, in connection with the FIR brought against him by the UP Police over a tweet in which he allegedly labelled 3 Hindu seers ‘Hate mongers’The panel of Justices Indira Banerjee and JK Maheshwari decided he can’t post any more tweets.The panel clarified that it has not delayed the FIR probe and that temporary relief does not apply to any other case against him.He was originally booked under Section 295-A of the IPC, which penalises deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings by insulting a class’s religion or religious beliefs, and Section 67 of the IT Act, which punishes publishing or transmitting obscene material in electronic form. After dropping Section 67 IT Act, police added Section 153A IPC.Senior Advocate Colin Gonsalves argued for Zubair that the offences accused are not made out because Zubair only spoke out against religious leaders’ “hate speech” and did not engage in such an act. Additional Solicitor General SV Raju, representing the Investigating Officer, contended that publicly labelling a religious leader a hate monger has the potential to insult religious emotions and incite violence, and hence the alleged offences are prima facie valid.Solicitor General Tushar Mehta argued for the UP government that this is not about one tweet by Zubair, but whether he is part of a syndicate publishing such tweets to destabilise the country. He said Zubair hid from the Supreme Court that local courts had found a prima facie case against him and denied bail.