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Mainstream, VOL LX No 29, New Delhi, July 9, 2022

Statement Against The Conduct Of Delhi And Uttar Pradesh Police in Mohammed Zubair’s Case | CAJR - July 5, 2022

Friday 8 July 2022

CAMPAIGN FOR JUDICIAL ACCOUNTABILITY AND REFORMS
6/6 basement Jangpura B, Delhi - 110014
judicialreforms.org
Patrons: Shri Shanti Bhushan, Prof. B.B.Pande,Dr. Bhaskar Rao, Ms.
Arundhati Roy, Shri Pradip Prabhu, Prof. Babu Mathew, Dr. Baba
Adhav, Ms. Kamini Jaiswal, Shri Mihir Desai, Shri Manoj Mitta
Executive Committee: Prashant Bhushan (Convenor), Cheryl D’Souza
(Secretary), Nikhil Dey, Alok Prasanna Kumar, Venkatesh Sundaram,
Indu Prakash Singh, Anjali Bhardwaj, Amrita Johri, Annie Raja,
Ramesh Nathan, Siddharth Sharma, Indira Unninayar, Vijayan MJ,
Vipul Mudgal, Koninika Ray, Prasanna S, Meera Sanghamitra, Nikhil
Borwankar

PRESS RELEASE | 5" July 2022

The Campaign for Judicial Accountability and Reforms is deeply concerned about the manner in which the Delhi Police has filed questionable charges against Mr. Mohammed Zubair, co-founder of Alt News and arrested him, based on a 2018 tweet that merely involved remarks on a screenshot from an old hindi film. CJAR is further shocked at the manner in which the Delhi police revealed the contents of the order in the ongoing case of Mohammed Zubair‚Äôs bail, to the media, more than five hours prior to the order being pronounced on the 2" of July. Around 2 pm, messages were broadcast by media organisations that Zubair had been denied bail and he had been sent to 14 days of judicial custody. In reality, as of 2 pm the judge had reserved the order and was yet to return to preside over the Bench.

It is most shocking that several hours later when the bench actually assembled and the order was pronounced, it was exactly what the police had announced earlier - denial of bail and 14 days judicial custody. The explanation offered by the Deputy Superintendent of Police that "I had a word with my IO, I misheard it due to noise and inadvertently the message was posted in the broadcast”‚ is bizarre to put it mildly. No effort was made to correct the record when media outlets flashed this information and it was only when the counsels for the petitioner raised the issues did the clarification even come about.

This incident raises serious questions about the circumstances leading up to the pronouncement of the order and the interference of the Delhi Police in the judicial process. It appears that the Delhi Police and the magistrate had a prior backdoor agreement outside of court as to the nature of the order that was to be pronounced. We believe strict action must be taken against officials responsible for this. To reinforce the faith of the Public in the judiciary and constitutional governance the communication between the police and the Judge and the perceived influence of the police over the judicial process, needs a thorough independent probe, that must be conducted forthwith by the Delhi High Court.

We are further concerned that Mr. Zubair has now been remanded to 14 days judicial custody, based on an FIR filed on lst June by the Sitapur District Police in Uttar Pradesh for reportedly calling three Hindutva leaders as ‚”hate mongers”. We feel that in both instances the Delhi and UP police have been inappropriately invoking the law to persecute a fact-checker. We demand that the constitutional right to liberty of Mr. Zubair be upheld and the ill-conceived charges against him be dropped immediately by the Delhi and UP police.

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