As soon as Mohammed Zubair "gets bail in one, he is remanded in another", the Supreme Court said today, describing it as a "vicious cycle".
"The contents of all the FIRs against him seem to be similar," Justice DY Chandrachud added.
The apex court was hearing a plea by the Alt News cofounder to quash six FIRs filed against him by the Uttar Pradesh police. Zubair's lawyer Vrinda Grover had asked the court for an urgent hearing given the "slew of FIRs" filed against him.
The Supreme Court accordingly directed the UP police "to not take any precipitative action whatsoever" against Zubair until the court hears his plea to quash the FIRs on July 20.
Of the six FIRs, two are filed in Hathras and one each in Sitapur, Lakhimpur Kheri, Ghaziabad and Muzaffarnagar. The Supreme Court had in the Sitapur case. Meanwhile, the UP police a special investigation team last week to probe the cases.
Zubair was by the Delhi police last month over a tweet he had posted four years ago. The tweet had referenced a trope from a 1983 film that an anonymous Twitter user then found "offensive". On Friday, a Delhi court in the case but he remains in jail after being remanded in custody in the clutch of FIRs filed in Uttar Pradesh.
The bail order emphasised that dissent is necessary for a healthy democracy, and also that "no useful purpose" is served by keeping Zubair in custody. Read here.