Delhi HC issues notice to police on Mohammed Zubair’s plea challenging four-day remand
The journalist, who was arrested on Monday for hurting religious sentiments through a 2018 tweet, was remanded in police custody till July 2.
The Delhi High Court on Friday issued notices to the Delhi Police on the petition filed by journalist Mohammed Zubair challenging his four-day police remand, reported Live Law.
Zubair’s custody is set to end on Saturday and he will be produced before the Patiala House Court.
Zubair, a co-founder of the fact-checking website Alt News, was arrested by the Delhi Police on Monday on charges of hurting religious sentiments through a tweet he posted in March 2018. A magistrate had initially sent him to police custody for a day.
A day later, Zubair was produced in the Patiala House Court, where Magistrate Snigdha Sarvaria agreed to the prosecution’s arguments and remanded him in police custody till July 2. The police had said that Zubair has been booked in other cases as well and claimed that he was not cooperating in the investigation.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Delhi Police, on Friday said he will respond to the petition soon. He added that the question whether the police would seek further remand will be based on the investigation in the case.
The High Court also directed the litigants to file the counter-affidavit within two weeks.
Case against Zubair
The first information report against Zubair was based on a complaint by Delhi Police Sub-Inspector Arun Kumar, who said he was monitoring social media when he came across the March 2018 tweet after a handle named Hanuman Bhakt raised objections.
The handle had posted only one message on the microblogging site until Monday evening and had only three followers. However, on Wednesday, a message on the social media platform said that the account did not exist anymore.
The handle had taken objection to Zubair’s tweet, showing a hotel signboard with the name “Honeymoon Hotel” repainted to “Hanuman Hotel”.
Several press bodies have criticised Zubair’s arrest and called for his unconditional release. A spokesperson for United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres said on Tuesday said that journalists anywhere in the world should not be jailed for what they write, tweet or say.