The tweet on the basis of which a harassment case was registered against Alt News co-founder Mohammed Zubair does not constitute any cognisable offence, the Delhi Police told the High Court, reported Bar and Bench on Friday.
The police made the statement in their status report before the High Court on Zubair’s plea to quash the first information report against him in Delhi. Another FIR was lodged against him in Raipur.
The FIRs were filed against Zubair under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act in September 2020 for allegedly harassing and torturing a minor girl.
The cases were registered a month after Zubair had responded to an abusive message from Twitter user Jagdish Singh.
“Hello Jagdish Singh,” he had written. “Does your cute grand daughter know about your part time job of abusing people on social media? I suggest you to change your profile pic.”
In his tweet, Zubair had posted Singh’s display picture, which features a little girl who is perhaps his granddaughter. Zubair had, however, blurred the girl’s face in the image.
In their status report, the police said that the Alt News co-founder was questioned on May 13. They said that Zubair submitted the details of his Twitter handle, email id and phone number.
The report said that one of the Zubair’s followers had posted offensive comments while responding to Singh. Zubair clarified to the police that he has over 4.6 lakh followers on Twitter and does not personally know them, according to the report.
The Alt News co-founder said that he has lost the phone from which he posted the tweet and has filed a complaint before the Bengaluru Police. He assured the Delhi Police that he will submit a copy of the complaint.
The report also said that Zubair’s follower who wrote the offensive reply also joined investigation and gave his phone for forensic examination.
The case will next be heard on August 8. The court added that interim protection from arrest granted to Zubair in October 2020 will continue till the next hearing.
After the cases were registered, Zubair had said the complaints were “absolutely frivolous”.
Alt News had also backed Zubair, saying that the FIRs were an attempt to hound him through the “misuse of legal apparatus”.