NEW DELHI – Alt News co-founder and journalist Mohammed Zubair walked free from Delhi’s Tihar Jail hours after Supreme Court on Wednesday granted him interim bail in the six FIRs registered against him by the Uttar Pradesh Police.
Zubair was arrested last month by the Delhi Police over a tweet he had shared in 2018 that had named a screenshots of a movie. He was granted bail in the case earlier, but remained behind the bars due to the FIRs lodged against him in UP for his tweets. At the time, the Delhi court had said “the voice of dissent is necessary for a healthy democracy”.
While ordering Zubair’s immediate release from Tihar Jail in the national capital, the Supreme Court on Wednesday asked the authorities to combine all cases against him into one. While the top court had ordered his release at 6pm, Zubair walked out of the jail around 8pm after completing all formalities, says reports.
A bench of Justices DY Chandrachud, Surya Kant, and AS Bopanna said Zubair will be enlarged on bail in all the FIRs registered in UP after depositing a bail bond of ₹20,000 with the chief metropolitan magistrate at the Patiala House Court in New Delhi.
“In (the) present case (there is) no justification to keep him in continued detention and subject him to an endless round of proceedings in various courts,” the Supreme Court said.
The top court also refused to put a bar on Zubair from tweeting in the future as sought by the Yogi Adityanath government in Uttar Pradesh.
“How can a journalist be restrained from tweeting and writing? If he violates any law by tweeting, then he can be proceeded as per law”, the bench said in a lengthy order passed after more than a two-hour hearing.