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NCPCR requests Delhi HC for thorough investigation against fact-checker Zubair

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The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) stated in Delhi High court on Tuesday that the Delhi Police’s claim of “no cognizable offence” against fact-checker Mohammed Zubair in a case of allegedly threatening a girl on Twitter was “incorrect”.

The NCPCR requested the high court to order the police to conduct a thorough investigation into the case and wrap it up as soon as possible, claiming that the Delhi Police’s stance reveals the “casual attitude” of the authorities.

The case will be heard next on 7 December.

The Delhi Police hadĀ filed a first information report (FIR) on complaint of NCPCR against Zubair in August of last year for allegedly threatening a girl on Twitter.

The NCPCR’s complaint made reference to a picture of the girl and her father that Zubair tweeted during a heated online argument with the child’s father.

The child rights organisation claimed that Zubair had been attempting to evade investigation and not cooperating with the police based on the information provided by the police in their May status report.

NCPCR said in its affidavit to the Delhi High Court. stated that, “The malafide intention of the petitioner to conceal the facts is evident which is seen to be causing a serious delay in the investigation of this case. The submission made by the Delhi Police as to no cognisable offence being made out against the petitioner is also incorrect and indicates the casual attitude of the police in this case.”

Retweeting the girl’s photo, according to the NCPCR, jeopardised her safety, exposed her to online harassment, and helped her father reveal her identity.

The NCPCR further added that, “The comments made on the picture of the minor girl also included comments which were in the nature of sexual harassment and was seen to be in violation of the provisions of the POCSO Act, IPC and IT Act.”

It affidavit said Zubair neither deleted the tweet nor informed the authorities about Twitter users who made abusive comments.

The child rights body requested the court to order thorough investigation in the affidavit. “In view of the violations committed against the minor girl in the said case and the information provided by the Delhi Police in its status report dated May 14, 2022, the NCPCR requests this court to direct the Delhi Police to conduct a thorough investigation in this case and complete the same on priority,” the statement read.

The police were instructed not to use any coercive measures againstĀ Zubair in the case by the high court in September of last year. Additionally, it instructed Twitter India to assist the police with their investigation.

Zubair called the FIR “an absolutely frivolous complaint”. His lawyer claimed that a man had demeaned, abused, and even posted remarks with strong communal overtones on Zubair’s Twitter page in retaliation for his tweets.

Later, the fact-checker posted the display picture of the man standing with his minor daughter, whose face was blurred by Mr Zubair.

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