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No coercive action against Alt News co-founder by state police, orders Chhattisgarh High Court

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New Delhi (ILNS): The Chhattisgarh High Court today ordered that no coercive action should be taken by the state police against Mohammed Zubair, co-founder of fact-checking portal Alt News. This order was passed by a bench of Justice Sanjay Kumar Agrawal, while hearing a petition by the Zubair, who sought the quashing of an FIR lodged against him over a twitter response. 

Senior Advocate Colin Gonsalves, appearing for Zubair, argued that the tweet in question cannot attract any of the offences alleged by any stretch of imagination. It did not cover IPC, POCSO or the IT Act.

He further argued that the Delhi Police had registered an FIR on similar claims and a second FIR on the same complaint was unsustainable in law.

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Zubair had sent a Tweet in which he shared the profile picture of Jagdish Singh standing with his minor granddaughter. In tweet Zubair had asked if it was appropriate for Singh to use derogatory language in replies while using a profile picture figuring his granddaughter.

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Singh, in response, lodged a complaint with the National Council for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR), upon which the NCPCR wrote to the Delhi Police and Raipur Police. The Raipur Police registered an FIR alleging offences under section 509B IPC and section 12 of the POCSO Act, and section 67 of the IT Act , alleging that Zubair’s tweet amounted to torture and harassment of a minor girl.

The court, after considering the arguments, issued notice to the Chhattisgarh government and the complainant Jagdish Singh.

-ILNS

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