5 Oct 2020 11:14 AM GMT
The Chhattisgarh High Court on Monday ordered that no coercive action should be taken against Mohammed Zubair, co-founder of fact-checking portal 'Alt News', in the FIR lodged against him over a twitter response.A bench of Justice Sanjay Kumar Agrawal passed the interim order while issuing notice to Chhattisgarh government and the complainant Jagdish Singh on the petition filed by...
The Chhattisgarh High Court on Monday ordered that no coercive action should be taken against Mohammed Zubair, co-founder of fact-checking portal 'Alt News', in the FIR lodged against him over a twitter response.
A bench of Justice Sanjay Kumar Agrawal passed the interim order while issuing notice to Chhattisgarh government and the complainant Jagdish Singh on the petition filed by Zubair seeking to quash the FIR.
The case pertains to a tweet made by Zubair, sharing the profile picture of Jagdish Singh which had him standing with his minor granddaughter, and asking if it was appropriate for Singh to use derogatory language in replies while using a profile picture figuring his granddaughter.
"Hello Jagdish Singh. Does your cute granddaughter know about your part time job of abusing people on social media? I suggest you to change your profile pic.", Zubair had commented, after blurring the face of the minor girl.
Following this, Singh made a complaint to the National Council for Protection of Child Rights(NCPCR), upon which the NCPCR wrote to Delhi police and Raipur police, alleging that Zubair's tweet amounted to torture and harassment of a minor girl.
Based on the NCPCR mail, the Raipur police registered an FIR alleging offences under section 509B (sexual harassment by electronic mode) of the Indian Penal Code, section 12 (punishment for committing sexual harassment upon a child) of Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, and section 67 (punishment for publishing or transmitting obscene material in electronic form) of the Information Technology (IT) Act.
Challenging this FIR, Zubair approached the High Court under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC).
Senior Advocate Dr. Colin Gonsalves, assisted by Advocate Kishore Narain, appearing for Zubair, argued that the FIR was an abuse of process of law and that the tweet cannot attract any of the offences alleged by any stretch of imagination. The allegations, even if admitted to be true, do no make out any offences under the IPC, POCSO or the IT Act, they argued.
It was also pointed out that the Delhi police had registered an FIR on similar allegations and a second FIR on the same complaint was unsustainable in law.
Last month, the Delhi High Court had granted similar relief to Zubair in the FIR registered by the Delhi police on the basis of NCPCR complaint.