Hearing Alt News co-founder Mohammed Zubair’s application for transit bail, the Karnataka High Court on Tuesday observed that since the Uttar Pradesh police had sent him a under section 41(A) of the Criminal Procedure Code, he would not be arrested if he complied.
Section 41(A) a person shall not be arrested if they comply with a notice to appear before police. Zubair has to appear before the Ghaziabad police on June 28. He received the notice for appearance late on June 21 over a tweet featuring a viral video of an elderly Muslim man being assaulted in Loni.
Arguing for Zubair, advocate Vrinda Grover asked if the part of the notice stating that the police don’t wish to arrest him if he appears before them and complies with the conditions could be noted in the judge’s order as it would grant some security to Zubair’s liberty.
The judge pointed out that there was no need for transit bail since Zubair was not arrested.
When he said Zubair should apply for bail to a court with jurisdiction over the case – the Allahabad High Court – Grover said they had applied to the Karnataka High Court because the journalist lives within its jurisdiction and virtual filing would take time in Allahabad.
Grover informed the court that Rana Ayyub, another journalist named in the same FIR as Zubair, had been transit anticipatory bail by the Bombay High Court yesterday.
The judge asked Grover for the notice sent to Zubair, a copy of the Ayyub’s transit bail order, and the police complaint, and listed the petition for hearing on June 29.
The advocate had told the court that the tweet and the video in question didn’t originate from Zubair but were widely reported by major media outlets. When Zubair learned the police were investigating the assault and facts were coming out that were at variance with what was being alleged about it, he deleted the tweet before the FIR was lodged on the night of June 15.
Aside from Zubair, the Uttar Pradesh police have Twitter, the news website Wire, journalists Rana Ayyub and Saba Naqvi, and a few Congress leaders in its FIR for “provoking communal sentiments”.