What’s the News: Following weeks of legal battle, the Supreme Court on July 20 granted interim bail to Mohammed Zubair, co-founder of fact-checking website Alt News in all six Uttar Pradesh (UP) police FIRs. https://twitter.com/free_thinker/status/1549854196480065536 Why it matters: While the latest court document only provides the operative order, the Bench led by Justice DY Chandrachud said that existence of power of arrest must be used by the police sparingly. Zubair’s case came at a time when many journalists, activists face censure or arrest for voicing dissent. On July 19, Gujarat police arrested filmmaker Avinash Das for sharing a photo of Union Home Minister Amit Shah with arrested IAS officer Pooja Singhal reported Economic Times. Then, Justice GR Swaminathan of the Madras High Court initiated contempt of court proceedings against YouTuber Savukku Shankar for allegedly questioning his integrity in a tweet. Similarly, Assam police arrested Gujarat MLA Jignesh Mevani in April for his tweet about Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Here, Zubair was charged with hurting religious sentiments via tweets. By asserting limitations to the power of arrest and giving bail on all six FIRs against the journalist, the court upheld Article 19 (Freedom of Expression) of the Indian Constitution. “The petitioner would be at liberty to pursue his rights and remedies in proceedings under Article 226 of the Constitution/ Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure 1973 in respect of the FIRs which have been or which may be registered against him before the High Court of Delhi and in…
SC grants Alt News’ Mohammed Zubair interim bail in all UP FIRs
Supreme Court steps in to grant bail to Zubair and quashes the SIT formed by UP Police numerous arrests over tweets and online speech across India
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