The court was hearing Zubair’s plea in a POCSO case. Counsel for Delhi Police submitted that since Zubair has not been named in the chargesheet, a ‘quietus’, or a final disposition, can be put to the issue.
However, the single-judge bench of Justice Anup Jairam Bhambhani remarked, “You went hammer and tongs against him (Zubair). But the case has now ended in a whimper, as it should have because there was no evidence. But what action have you taken against this man?” referring to the person who allegedly indulged in hate speech and trolled Zubair on Twitter.
“How can we put a quietus to the issue without complying with the Supreme Court’s directions? SC’s words are our command. How can we let it go like that? The matter has to be dealt with seriously. I cannot let it go like this without compliance of SC orders. Tell me what steps you (Delhi Police) have taken,” said the judge.
The Delhi Police counsel responded by assuring HC the apex court’s directions on hate speech would be complied with.
The matter dates back to August 2020, when Zubair had called out a man for trolling him on Twitter and retweeted a blurred photo of the person’s granddaughter as his display picture, asking if she knew about “his part-time job of abusing people on social media”.
After a series of tweets was exchanged, Zubair was booked a month later by Delhi Police’s cyber cell under POCSO Act on a complaint by National Commission for Protection of Child Rights chairperson Priyanka Kanoongo. Another FIR was filed against him in Raipur, again under POCSO Act, for allegedly “threatening and torturing” a minor girl on Twitter.
Zubair then moved Delhi HC seeking quashing of the FIR and action against Kanoongo and was granted interim protection from arrest. The court had also directed the DCP, cyber cell, to file a status report on the investigation in the case and directed Twitter India to expedite the Delhi Police cyber cell’s request in this regard.
In May 2022, Delhi Police told the court that no cognisable offence was made out against Zubair as no criminality was found in his tweet.