Friday, October 7, 2022

Mohammed Zubair arrest: Delhi HC issues notice to Delhi Police

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The Delhi High Court has issued notice on Friday to the Delhi Police in the plea filed by AltNews co-founder Mohamamed Zubair challenging the police remand of four days granted to Delhi Police by a Patiala House Court recently. Zubair was arrested on Monday last for his tweet of 2018 which the police said hurt religious sentiment and promoted enmity among communities.

The matter will be next heard on July 27 and gave the police two weeks time to file its counter-affidavit and file a rejoinder if required within a week.

Justice Sanjeev Narula asked Zubair’s advocate Vrinda Grover that his four-day remand will end on Saturday and she can raise the issue with the trial court itself. He then proceeded to issue notice.

During the arguments, Grover said the case is of 2018. Delhi Police has taken it up now. She then asked why the Delhi Police had to take Zubair to Bangalore and said what is the point of wasting public money? While this is not such an important matter.

Grover said that it is a matter related to bail. The maximum punishment in this offence is 3 years and the tweet is also of March 2018.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta told the High Court that he is not appearing for the Centre but for Delhi Police in this matter. At this, Grover noted that the involvement of the Solicitor General in such a small matter hints at what is behind the whole episode.

When Justice Narula asked her to raise the challenge to police remand, Grover contended that it is not a limited matter, it is a matter of personal liberty. Was remand even needed in this case? Can my passport, my laptop be taken? It has become a pattern. Why an arrest in a small case? That tweet is not special enough to be arrested for it, Grover said.

Grover said that I was arrested on the evening of June 27 at around 7.45 pm. The police have the right to produce me before the magistrate within 24 hours but the same night, I am taken to the duty magistrate’s house only at 10 pm. Such an arrest on a tweet of my 2018, I was sent in 1-day remand without any notice or remand paper. The copy of the FIR registered against me was also received after the order of the duty magistrate, she said.

Terming the police action as a farce, Grover said Delhi Police did not give her a copy of the FIR, the notice of arrest or even the notice to confiscate the phone.

Referring to the Supreme Court decision in the Arnesh Kumar case, Grover said if the court did not intervene and uphold the guidelines from the Arnesh Kumar decision in this case, then it would be violation of citizen’s rights.

SG Tushar Mehta said we will file a reply in this matter in the court. He said that the meaning of FIR is only to initiate proceedings in any case. In this, the investigating officer can find many other documents or material or evidence. From which information can be obtained that any such offence has been committed which may not be in the FIR.

SG Mehta said Delhi Police is investigating this matter. Nothing can be said on this subject yet. Information related to the case will be shared as and when the investigation progresses.

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