New Delhi: In a major relief to senior veteran journalist, Vinod Dua, the Supreme Court today in its verdict, quashed the proceedings and FIR on his petition in a sedition case registered against him in Shimla, Himachal Pradesh for his alleged accusatory comments on his YouTube channel against PM Narendra Modi.
The Supreme Court in its judgement, while quashing the FIR and proceedings, said that “every journalist shall be protected as per its Kedar Nath Singh’s judgment.”
A Bench of the Apex Court, headed by Justice Uday Umesh Lalit, and also comprising Justice Vineet Saran, which had reserved its judgement on October 6, today pronounced the verdict.
Dua had moved to the Apex Court last year, seeking quashing of the sedition FIR registered against him in Shimla for his alleged accusatory comments on his YouTube channel against PM Modi.
The Apex Court, however, rejected the second prayer of Dua, seeking a direction from the SC for constituting a high-level committee in each state to examine sedition charges slapped against many journalists of 10 years or more.
“There were two prayers, one was quashing of FIR and the second one was formation of a committee. We grant the first and quash the proceedings, however for the second one, it will be an encroachment of legislature,” the Top Court said, in its judgement today.
Dua is accused of making certain statements on his YouTube program, The Vinod Dua show, which were allegedly of the nature to incite communal hatred and may lead to some kind of breach of peace and communal disharmony, the prosecution stated.
Senior Supreme Court lawyer and former Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Vikas Singh, appearing for Vinod Dua, had submitted to the Apex Court that the accused, being a journalist has all the rights to freedom of speech and also the legitimate right to criticise the government.
Singh also had said that where is the sedition? My client is a journalist and he knew his responsibility very well. The sedition is committed, when you incite violence. When you incite public disorder, but where is it, in my case?
The government allows participation of the public and this is a basic feature of a democratic country. Without this, no one will prosper, if people don’t go out and share their views, Singh had submitted to the Apex Court.