Supreme Court Grants Liberty To Mohammed Zubair To Move Delhi HC For Quashing Sitapur FIR
The Supreme Court granted liberty to Alt News co-founder Mohammad Zubair to approach the Delhi High Court for quashing of the FIR lodged against him at Sitapur in Uttar Pradesh.
The Bench comprising of Justice D. Y. Chandrachud and Justice Hima Kohli directed that Zubair's petition will be decided on its own merit, uninfluenced by the order of the Allahabad High Court, which had denied him the relief.
The Bench noted that all the cases lodged against Zubair in Uttar Pradesh, including that in Sitapur, have been transferred as per the Court's order dated July 20 to the Special Cell of Delhi police for investigation. "In terms of liberty which was granted in order dated July 20, 2022, the petitioner would be able to pursue his rights and remedies available under law before the Delhi High Court. In such an event, the petition under section 482 of CrPC (FIR quashing) shall be considered on its own merit without the order of Allahabad High Court coming in the way", the Court ordered.
The Court noted the submission of Additional Advocate General Garima Prashad that a copy of the letter from special secretary dated September 5 has been received stating that the case registered in Sitapur has been transferred to the special cell of Delhi Police.
Advocate Vrinda Grover, appearing for Zubair said that what is before the Court is an appeal filed against the Allahabad High Court order dated June 10, 2022 rejecting his plea for quashing of the FIR. "Nothing remains in it as the court has already directed the case to be transferred to Delhi police by its order of July 20. This is a Special Leave Petition against the High Court order and the court may indicate that we can file a petition before the Delhi High Court for quashing of the FIR under section 482 of CrPC", she said, adding that all she is seeking is that the Allahabad High Court order should not come in the way.
Zubair had approached the Supreme Court seeking quashing of 6 FIRs that have been registered against him in Uttar Pradesh. His plea challenges the FIRs filed against him at Lakhimpur Kheri, Sitapur, Ghaziabad, Muzaffarnagar and two FIRs that have been filed in Hathras. Zubair had also challenged the SIT that has been constituted by the Uttar Pradesh Police. Zubair had made an alternative prayer for the FIRs to be clubbed together with the FIR filed in Delhi.
On July 20, Zubair was granted interim bail by the Court and the FIRs registered against him in Uttar Pradesh were transferred to Delhi. A Bench of Justice D. Y. Chandrachud, Justice Surya Kant and Justice A. S. Bopanna had passed the said order.
Zubair was earlier granted regular bail in the FIR filed against him in Delhi and was granted interim bail in Sitapur but was under judicial custody in FIRs filed against him in one case in Hathras and Lakhimpur Kheri.
Prior to that, a Vacation Bench of the Supreme Court comprising of Justice Indira Banerjee and Justice J. K. Maheshwari granted conditional interim bail to Mohammad Zubair for a period of five days in the case registered in Uttar Pradesh. The Court had imposed a condition that he should not leave the jurisdiction of the Delhi court since he is in judicial custody in that case. The Court had also imposed conditions that Zubair shall not tweet in the meantime or tamper with evidence.