The Allahabad High Court has dismissed the writ petition filed by one Mohammed Zubair, the co-founder of 'Alt News' seeking quashing of FIR registered under Sections 295-A of the Indian Penal Code and Section 67 of the Information Technology Act, 2000.

The Division Bench of Justice Ajai Kumar Srivastava and Justice Ramesh Sinha held that "the perusal of the record makes out, prima facie, offences at this stage and there appears to be sufficient ground for investigation in the case."

In this case, FIR was registered against petitioner- Mohammed Zubair over his tweet where he had allegedly used hateful and offensive term "hate mongers" against three Hindu seers.

Advocate Mohd. Kumail Haider, appearing on behalf of the petitioner submitted that the petitioner had not insulted or attempted to insult a religious belief of a class by his tweet. He also stated that the F.I.R. was lodged against the petitioner just for harassment with oblique motive.

He prayed for quashing of the FIR registered against him.

On the contrary, AGA Santosh Kumar Mishra appearing on behalf of the respondents opposed the prayer of the petitioner and stated that the petitioner was a habitual offender. He further argued that the impugned F.I.R. discloses a cognizable offence against the petitioner.

The Court observed that the entire matter was only at a premature stage and opined that "the evidence has to be gathered after a thorough investigation and placed before the Court concerned on the basis of which alone the Court concerned can come to a conclusion…"

The Court noted that while examining an FIR which is sought to be quashed, the court cannot inquire about the reliability, genuineness, or the allegations made in the FIR/complaint. And to that end held that "The Supreme Court has emphasised that though the court has the power to quash the FIR in suitable cases, the court, when it exercises power under Section 482 Cr.P.C., only has to consider whether or not the allegations in the FIR disclose the commission of a cognizable offence and is not required to consider the case on merit."

The Court also observed that the submissions made by the Counsel for the petitioner called for determination on questions of fact which may be adequately discerned either through proper investigation or which may be adjudicated upon only by the trial court.

The Court noted that on perusal of the record in this case, prima facie, offences at this stage were made out and there appeared sufficient ground for investigation in the case. Accordingly, the writ petition was dismissed.

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