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Mohd Zubair moves SC for quashing of FIRs registered by UP Police

 Mohammed Zubair, the co-founder of fact-checking website Alt News, has moved the Supreme Court seeking to quash six FIRs registered against him by the Uttar Pradesh Police, over his tweets.

Mohd Zubair moves SC for quashing of FIRs registered by UP Police

The plea has also challenged the constitution of a special investigative team (SIT) to probe these cases. Zubair has also sought interim bail in the 6 FIRs.

On Tuesday, the Uttar Pradesh government formed a two-member SIT to probe six cases lodged against Zubair in Hathras, Ghaziabad, Muzaffarnagar, Lakhimpur Kheri, and Sitapur.

Inspector General Dr Preetinder Singh, who is presently posted at Department of Prisons Administration and Reform, will head the SIT, while Deputy Inspector General of Police Amit Verma is a member of the SIT.

On July 12, the Supreme Court extended the interim bail granted to Zubair, by the top court, in the case registered against him at Uttar Pradesh's Sitapur.

A bench of Justices D.Y. Chandrachud and A.S. Bopanna listed the matter for final disposal on September 7. The bench noted that the state government seeks time to file a counter affidavit and allowed the government to file a reply within 4 weeks and rejoinder within 2 weeks thereafter.

"Interim bail in Sitapur FIR case shall continue till further orders. List for final disposal on September 7, 2022," said the bench.

The top court's order came on a plea by Zubair seeking quashing of the FIR registered against him at Sitapur.

On July 8, the Supreme Court granted an interim bail for five days to Zubair in connection with a case registered against him by the Uttar Pradesh Police for a tweet, where he allegedly called Hindu seers 'hatemongers'.

A vacation bench of Justices Indira Banerjee and J.K. Maheshwari said: "The petitioner shall be granted interim bail in connection with FIR... June 1, 2022 lodged at P.S. Khairabad, District Sitapur, Uttar Pradesh for a period of five days from today or until further orders of the regular bench on terms and conditions to be imposed by the Judicial Magistrate-I, Sitapur, which shall include the conditions that the petitioner shall not post any tweets and shall not tamper with any evidence, electronic or otherwise in Bengaluru or anywhere else."

"It is made clear that this order pertains to FIR dated 01.06.2022 lodged at PS Khairabad, District Sitapur, Uttar Pradesh only."

Senior advocate Colin Gonsalves, representing Zubair, submitted that his client was promoting secularism and not promoting any enmity among religions.

Gonsalves said, "I capture hate speeches... I am defending the Constitution and I'm in jail...And for what?" Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the Uttar Pradesh government, submitted that the petitioner was a habitual offender and it was not a matter of one tweet or another, instead whether he was part of a syndicate which puts out tweets to destabilise society.

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