Mohammed Zubair Moves Delhi High Court Challenging 4 Days Police Custody, Hearing Tomorrow

Update: 2022-06-30 08:04 GMT

The Delhi High Court will hear tomorrow a plea filed by Alt News Co-Founder Mohammed Zubair challenging his four days police custody remand granted by a Trial Court here, after he was arrested earlier this week by the Delhi Police for allegedly hurting religious sentiments and promoting enmity over a tweet made in 2018.

The plea was mentioned today by Advocate Vrinda Grover, appearing for Zubair, before a vacation bench which allowed the matter to be heard tomorrow.

On Tuesday, Zubair was produced before Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Snigdha Sarvaria of the Patiala House Court who sent him to four days police custody, observing that he had remained "non-cooperative" and recovery of the devices used for posting the tweet was yet to be made.

Zubair has been arrested under Section 153 (giving provocation with intent to cause riot) and Section 295 (deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs) of the Indian Penal Code. The Police had sought 5 days' remand.

As per Delhi Police, the case has been registered after a complaint was received from a twitter handle, wherein it was alleged that Zubair had tweeted a "questionable image with a purpose to deliberately insult the god of a particular religion."

According to the FIR, Zubair's tweet from 2018 on the renaming of a 'Honeymoon Hotel' after Hindu god Hanuman is an insult of their religion.

The FIR alleged that the words and the picture used by Zubair against a particular religious community were highly provocative and more than sufficient to incite feeling of hatred amongst people which can be detrimental for maintenance of public tranquillity in the society.

On the other hand, Zubair claimed that he was called for questioning in a 2020 FIR against him, however, he was arrested in a different FIR. The 2020 case concerns a plea moved by Zubair seeking the quashing of the FIR lodged against him on a complaint by a twitter user, Jagdish Singh.

The case pertains to a tweet posted by Zubair, sharing the profile picture of Singh which had him standing with his minor granddaughter, and asking -after blurring the face of the minor girl - if it was appropriate for Singh to use derogatory language in replies while using a profile picture figuring his granddaughter.

It may be noted that Zubair was granted interim protection from arrest vide order dated September 9, 2020 by a single judge bench of Justice Yogesh Khanna which had also directed the Delhi Government and the Deputy Commissioner of Police, Cyber Cell to file a status report on the investigation carried out in this case. The said protection is continuing.

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