In the case of Mohammed Zubair Versus State Of U.P. Thru. Prin. Secy./Addl Chief Secy. (Home), Lko. And others, Allahabad High Court’s Lucknow Bench has refused to dismiss an FIR filed against Alt News co-founder Mohammed Zubair for using Twitter to call Hindu seers Yati Narsinghanand Saraswati, Bajrang Muni, and Anand Swaroop “hate mongers.”
“The perusal of the record makes out, prima facie, offences against the petitioner at this stage, and there appears to be a sufficient ground for investigation in the case,” the vacation bench of Justices Ramesh Sinha and Ajay Kumar Srivastava said in dismissing his plea.
It should also be noted that the FIR against Zubair was filed by Bhagwan Sharan, the Sitapur district head of the Hindutva organisation Rashtriya Hindu Sher Sena, who claimed that Zubair’s tweet had hurt his religious sentiments.
On June 1, an FIR was filed against the co-founder of the fact-checking website under Section 295 (A) of the Indian Penal Code and Section 67 of the Information Technology Act at the Khairabad police station in Sitapur district for intentionally “outraging religious feelings” of the seers.
Zubair filed an appeal, claiming that his tweet did not insult or attempt to insult a class’ religious beliefs and that the case was filed solely to cause “harassment.”
The state counsel objected to Zubair’s petition, claiming that he is a habitual offender with four criminal cases pending against him.
The Bench, in rejecting Zubair’s plea, stated that the petitioner’s submissions call for a determination on factual issues that can be adequately discerned either through proper investigation or by the trial court alone.