The Sitapur court in Uttar Pradesh rejected the bail plea of Alt News co-founder and propagandist Mohammed Zubair on Thursday 7th July 2022. This bail plea was filed in a case registered against the Alt News co-founder by the Uttar Pradesh police under the charges of hurting religious sentiments by his remarks against several Hindu saints. The Sitapur court also remanded Mohammed Zubair to judicial custody for 14 days in the case.
Judge Abhinav Srivastava denied the bail on the grounds that the accused may influence witnesses or commit similar new crimes. It was observed that the case was serious in nature and non-bailable, therefore he could not be released on bail. Zubair has been booked under Sections 295A (deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs), 153A (Promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence) of the Indian Penal Code(IPC) and Section 67 (publishing or transmitting obscene material in electronic form) of the Information Technology Act, 2000.
In the meanwhile, Zubair petitioned the Supreme Court to have the FIR against him dismissed. Senior Advocate Colin Gonsalves presented Zubair’s request for quashing of the FIR before a vacation bench of the Supreme Court on Thursday morning.
The bench of Justices Indira Banerjee and JK Maheshwari ruled that only the Chief Justice of India (CJI) could list issues. As a result, the court ordered that the case be scheduled for Friday, July 8, subject to CJI approval. Zubair had already asked the Allahabad High Court to have the case dismissed, but this was denied, prompting him to file an appeal with the Supreme Court.
On June 1, Khairabad Police of Sitapur district in Uttar Pradesh filed a First Investigation Report (FIR) against Alt News co-founder Mohammed Zubair for using derogatory language against Mahant Bajrang Muni Udasin, Rashtriya Sanrakshak of Rashtriya Hindu Sher Sena along with Yati Narsinghanand and Swami Anand Swaroop. The FIR was registered based on the complaint of Bhagwan Sharan, district head of Rashtriya Hindu Sher Sena, under sections 295(A) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and Section 67 of the Information Technology Act, 2000.
In his complaint, Sharan had said, “On May 27, Mohammed Zubair used derogatory remarks against Mahant Bajrang Muni Udasin Ji by using the term ‘Hate Mongers’ for him from his Twitter handle. He also abused Yati Narsinghanand and Swami Anand Swaroop.”
On May 27, while targeting Times Now editor Navika Kumar, Zubair said in a tweet, “Why do we need Hate Mongers like Yati Narasinghanand Saraswati or Mahant Bajrang Muni or Anand Swaroop to arrange a Dharam Sansad to speak against a community and a Religion when we already have Anchors who can do a much better job from News Studios.”
It is notable that Mohammed Zubair is already in judicial custody in another case. The other case is registered against Mohammed Zubair by the Delhi Police. In this case, Mohammed Zubair is booked for promoting enmity among religious groups, based on a tweet he had shared in 2018. Subsequently several other cases also have been filed against him, including receiving foreign funds without permission.