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SC refuses to stay probe into sedition case against journalist Vinod Dua

SC refuses to stay probe into sedition case against journalist Vinod Dua
Vinod Dua
NEW DELHI, JUN 14 (AGENCIES) | Publish Date: 6/14/2020 1:24:14 PM IST

The Supreme Court on Sunday refused to stay the probe into a sedition case lodged against senior journalist Vinod Dua by Himachal Pradesh Police in Shimla.

After a special hearing conducted via video-conferencing, a three-judge Bench headed by Justice UU Lalit asked Dua to join the probe and cooperate with the police in the process.

Police can interrogate Dua at his residence in Delhi after giving him a 24-hour prior notice, the Bench said.

It means Dua can’t be arrested till the next date of hearing. The Bench—which also included Justice MM Shantanagoudar and Justice Vineet Sharan—issued notices to the Himachal Pradesh Government and the Centre on Dua’s petition seeking quashing of the FIR.

Asking the Himachal Pradesh Government to file a status report on probe, the top court posted the matter for further hearing on July 6. On behalf of Dua, senior advocate Vikas Singh sought protection from arrest for the senior journalist in the sedition case.

As Singh said police personnel came to Dua’s residence and asked him to report to a police station in Shimla, the Bench asked, “Who is the complainant?”

“A BJP spokesperson in Himachal Pradesh,” said Singh and went on to add, “I have the transcript on record, what he (Dua) has said is not sedition. If my lords want, I can also play the video on screen.”

Terming it a harassment of a journalist for speaking out against the government, Singh said, “If what my client has said is sedition, then only two channels will work in this country.” He said, “If this kind of content can attract sedition, then half of the country will be committing sedition.”

Singh urged the court to order stay on further proceedings on the FIR lodged against Dua. On behalf of the Centre and Himachal Pradesh Government, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said the complainant needed to be made a party to the case. He sought two weeks to respond to Dua’s petition.

Dua moved the top court after being asked to join the investigation at Kumarsain Police Station in Shimla district.

Earlier, the Delhi High Court had stayed summons issued to him in connection with an FIR against him for allegedly spreading fake news on communal violence in Delhi in February through his YouTube show. 

The Shimla FIR has been registered at the instance of Himachal Pradesh BJP leader Ajay Shyam who filed criminal complaint against Dua accusing him of instigating violence against the government by allegedly spreading fake news.

 

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