Mohammad Zubair, is the co-founder of ALT news, a fact checking portal. Multiple proceedings were initiated against him in multiple districts of the State of Uttar Pradesh and at the special cell of Delhi Police. The petitioner has on social networking site twitter, posted on Hindu religious topics through multiple tweets over a period of time on the basis of which these FIRs were registered against him for hurting religious sentiments and other similar offences. The petitioner was continuously under incarceration as a large number of cases were registered against him, he remained arrested in some or the other case, if released in any. Holding that multiplicity of proceedings is detrimental to personal liberty right to defend himself of the accused, apex court granted the petitioner relief by clubbing all the FIRs and transferring them to the Delhi Police special cell and enlarging the petitioner on interim bail.
This judgement of the supreme court is a frontrunning precedent when it comes to upholding the principles enshrined in Article 21 for protecting the life and personal liberty of citizens. The supreme court not only granted relief in the existing proceedings but went on to direct that the same directions will apply to any future proceedings initiated against the petitioner in respect to the same subject matter as in the previous FIRs i.e., the subsequent FIR (if any) registered, shall stand transferred to Delhi Police special cell and the Petitioner will be enlarged on interim bail in those FIRs as well. This judgement is a proactive step when it comes to protecting the accused from being embroiled in such a criminal proceeding which itself amounts to a punishment. Various nuances of this judgement relating to how courts can be innovative to protect citizens from abuse of state machinery will be discussed in this case note.