New Delhi: While granting interim bail to journalist Mohammed Zubair in all FIRs registered by the Uttar Pradesh Police over his tweets, the Supreme Court on Wednesday refused to impose a bail condition that he should not tweet.
The Court turned down a request made by the Additional Advocate General of Uttar Pradesh for such a condition, Bar and Bench reported.
“It is like telling a lawyer that you should not argue. How can we tell a journalist that he will not write or utter a word?”, Justice Chandrachud told UP AAG Garima Prashad.
The AAG replied that Zubair was “not a journalist”. Further, the AAG submitted that in the order passed by a vacation bench of the Supreme Court on July 8 granting interim bail to Zubair in the Sitapur FIR, there was a condition that he will not post tweets.
Justice Chandrachud said that if Zubair posts any objectionable tweet, he will be answerable to the law, but added that there cannot be an “anticipatory order interdicting someone from speaking”.
“If there are any tweets against law, he will be answerable. How can we pass any anticipatory order that someone will not speak?,” the report quoted the judge as saying.
When the AAG submitted that there should be a condition that Zubair will not tamper with evidence, Justice Chandrachud replied “all the evidences are in public domain”.
“We can’t say that he won’t tweet again”, Justice Chandrachud reiterated, as per the report.
The bench, also comprising Justices Surya Kant and AS Bopanna, ordered that Zubair should be released from Tihar jail by 6 PM today subject to him furnishing bail bonds in relation to the cases. The bench clubbed 7 UP Police FIRs with the Delhi Police FIR, observing that the subject matter of the cases were similar and that the Delhi Police has carried out a comprehensive investigation.
The bench added that any future FIR registered against Zubair with respect to tweets should be transferred to Delhi Police and clarified that he will be entitled to bail in such future FIRs as well. The bench also granted him liberty to approach the Delhi High Court for seeking quashing of all FIRs.