Alt News co-founder Mohammed Zubair on June 30 approached the Delhi High Court challenging his police remand in a case related to an alleged objectionable tweet he had posted in 2018 against a Hindu deity.
The petition, which challenges the trial court’s June 28 order granting four days of custody of Zubair to the Delhi Police was mentioned by his lawyer, advocate Vrinda Grover, before Justice Sanjeev Narula who agreed to list the matter for hearing on July 1.
Zubair was arrested by the Delhi Police on June 27 for allegedly hurting religious sentiments through one of his tweets and was sent to one-day police custody by the trial court on the same day. After being produced on the expiry of his one-day custodial interrogation, his custody was extended by another four days by Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Snigdha Sarvari.
Earlier this month, a case against Zubair was registered under sections 153A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, language, etc.) and 295A (deliberate and malicious act intended to outrage religious feelings) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). Police said the case was registered on the complaint of a Twitter user who accused him of hurting religious sentiments.
Police, while seeking an extension of Zubair’s custody by five days, had told the trial court that the accused was allegedly following a trend where he used religious tweets in an effort to get famous and that there was a deliberate effort to create social disharmony and hurt religious feelings.
The investigating agency had also said that the accused joined the probe but did not cooperate and various material from his phone was deleted. Advocate Grover, appearing for the accused, had opposed the police plea alleging that the agency had called Zubair for questioning in some other case, but he was arrested in the present case in haste.Someone recently tweeted Zubair’s tweet of 2018, and the present case was filed. The anonymous Twitter handle had its very first tweet, which cited Zubair’s tweet, which has been picked up by police. The agency is playing mischief, the counsel submitted.