SC Quashes Sedition Case Against Vinod Dua, Upholds Journalist Freedom Of Expression Under 1962 Case Verdict

 - Sakshi Post

NEW DELHI:  The Supreme Court on Thursday quashed a 2020 sedition case against veteran journalist Vinod Dua for his alleged comments against Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his YouTube show, saying a 1962 verdict entitles every journalist to protection.

 A bench comprising Justices U U Lalit and Vineet Saran, while speaking on the issue of protection of freedom of speech and expression of media personnel, said that “Every journalist is entitled to protection under the Kedar Nath Singh judgment (the famous verdict of 1962 on the scope and ambit of the offence of sedition in the IPC)."

While upholding the validity of Section 124A (sedition) of the IPC, the top court in 1962 had ruled the sedition charges could not be invoked against a citizen for criticism of government actions as it would be in conformity with the freedom of speech and expression.

However, the bench declined his request that no FIR should be registered against any media personnel with 10 years of experience unless cleared by a committee. The apex court said that it would amount to encroachment into the domain of the executive and they could not entertain his prayer.

TimeLine

- On May 6 last year an FIR against Vinod Dua was lodged under provisions of the Indian Penal Code for alleged offences of sedition, public nuisance, printing defamatory materials and public mischief by BJP leader Shyam at Kumarsain police station in Shimla district. Shyam has alleged that Dua, in his YouTube show, had made certain allegations against the prime minister.

- The top court in an unprecedented hearing conducted on June 14 last year, had granted protection from arrest to Dua till further orders. Dua has said freedom of the press is a fundamental right guaranteed under Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution.

- However, it had refused to stay the ongoing probe against him.

- On July 20 last year, the top court had extended till further orders the protection granted to Dua from any coercive action in the case.

- The top court had earlier said that Dua need not answer any other supplementary questions asked by the Himachal Pradesh police in connection with the case.

-The bench on October 6 last year had reserved the verdict on the petition after hearing arguments for Dua, the Himachal Pradesh government and the complainant, a local BJP leader.

Vinod Dua is currently hospitalised over COVID along with his wife Chinna Dua in Gurugram’s Medanta for COVID treatment. On Sunday, Chinna Dua needed Tocilizumab, a critical medicine used as a treatment for COVID patients. His daughter, actress and ‘comedian’ Mallika Dua reached out on the Internet to seek help for the medicines.

Also Read: Mobile COVID Testing Labs at Kempegowda International Airport in Bengaluru

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