Delhi Police Showing 'Casual Attitude' In Investigating POCSO FIR Against Alt News Co Founder Mohd Zubair, NCPCR Tells High Court

Nupur Thapliyal

11 Oct 2022 8:02 AM GMT

  • Delhi Police Showing Casual Attitude In Investigating POCSO FIR Against Alt News Co Founder Mohd Zubair, NCPCR Tells High Court

    The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) has told the Delhi High Court that an incorrect stand has been taken by the Delhi Police that the tweet made by Alt News Co-founder Mohammed Zubair in August 2020, for which an FIR was registered against him, does not constitute any cognizable offence.The NCPCR has also submitted that such a submission by the Delhi Police...

    The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) has told the Delhi High Court that an incorrect stand has been taken by the Delhi Police that the tweet made by Alt News Co-founder Mohammed Zubair in August 2020, for which an FIR was registered against him, does not constitute any cognizable offence.

    The NCPCR has also submitted that such a submission by the Delhi Police indicates its 'casual attitude' in the matter.

    The submission has been made in an additional affidavit filed in response to Zubair's plea seeking the quashing of the FIR lodged against him on a complaint by a Twitter user.

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

    "Hello XXX. Does your cute grand daughter know about your part time job of abusing people on social media? I suggest you to change your profile pic,"  Zubair said in the tweet.

    The user then filed multiple complaints against Zubair, accusing him of causing cyber sexual harassment of his grand-daughter. In the FIR lodged in Delhi, offences under the POCSO Act, Section 509B of IPC, Sections 67 and 67A of the Information Technology Act have been invoked against Zubair.

    Delhi Police in May informed the court that no cognizable offence was made out against Zubair. NCPCR has now argued that the information provided by Police in its status report shows that Zubair has been trying to evade the investigation and was not fully cooperating.

    "The mala fide intention of the petitioner to conceal the facts is evident which is seen to be causing a serious delay in the investigation of this case. The submission made by the Delhi Police as to no cognizable offence being made out against the petitioner is also incorrect and indicates the casual attitude of the police in this case," the affidavit reads.

    NCPCR has further said that despite knowing the fact that there were several comments being made on his post against the minor girl, Zubair neither tried to delete the tweet nor informed the authorities about users who had indulged in violating the minor girl's rights.

    "This also indicates the mala fide intention of the petitioner and it is seen that the petitioner has prima facie violated the provision of Section 19 of the POCSO Act, 2012 as well," the response states.

    In this backdrop, NCPCR has requested the Court to direct the Delhi Police to conduct a thorough investigation in the matter and complete the same on priority.

    "That NCPCR submits that this case involving harassment and online stalking of a minor is a serious problem that has arisen through the wide usage of social media platforms like Twitter. That the act of the petitioner has not only violated the rights of a minor Commissioner but has also violated the provisions of law as given under the IT Act, 2000, IPC, 1860 and POCSO Act, 2012," the response adds.

    While the matter was listed for hearing today before Justice Anu Malhotra, the same was adjourned to December 7.

    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.

    It had also directed Twitter India to expedite the request filed by the Cyber Cell of Delhi Police.

    Zubair is also aggrieved by the fact that the copies of the said FIRs have not been provided to him. In addition to this, he is also assailing the decision of the NCPCR. 

    Case Title: MOHAMMED ZUBAIR v. STATE OF GNCT & ORS.

    Next Story