Vinod Dua case | Sedition FIR cannot be quashed even if one listed offence is made out: government informs Supreme Court

Vinod Dua. File   | Photo Credit: Sushil Kumar Verma

The government on Friday argued in the Supreme Court that a sedition First Information Report (FIR) against senior journalist Vinod Dua could not be quashed even if one of the offences listed against him is made out.

Also read: Vinod Dua case | Hand over complete records of investigation, SC tells Himachal police

The FIR was registered against Mr. Dua for his YouTube broadcast allegedly blaming the government for its COVID-19 preparedness and making personal allegations against Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Also read: Sedition case: Stay the proceedings against me, Vinod Dua urges Supreme Court

Appearing before a Bench led by Justice U. U. Lalit, Additional Solicitor General S.V. Raju submitted that even an attempt to disobey an order promulgated by a public servant (Section 188 IPC) or giving provocation with intent to cause a riot (Section 153 IPC) amounts to a cognisable offence. Mr. Raju reiterated that even an attempt to commit these crimes would make a cognisable offence.

Earlier, Mr. Raju raised the submission on whether a journalist comes under the legal definition of a “professional”. He said a professional was someone who had a client relationship. The government argued that a journalist was like any other citizen.

Before Mr. Raju made his submissions, senior advocate Mahesh Jethmalani referred to how Mr. Dua, in his broadcast, made several claims about the government’s lack of COVID-19 preparedness.

Also read: Fair criticism is not sedition, says journalist Vinod Dua in Supreme Court

Mr. Jethmalani said these claims were violative of the court’s order of March 31 against unverified news. He said the contents of the broadcast were intended to cause disaffection against the government.

Even an incitement to cause violence amounted to sedition, Mr. Jethmalani argued.

Also read: Now, sedition case against Vinod Dua in Himachal Pradesh

Senior advocate Vikas Singh, for Mr. Dua, had argued that criticism of public measures or a comment on government action, however strongly worded, would be within reasonable limits of free speech. Fair criticism was not sedition, Mr. Singh said.

Mr. Dua had approached the Supreme Court after a Himachal Pradesh police team appeared at his residence on June 12 and ordered him to be present at the remote Kumarsain police station — at least a 20-hour drive from Delhi — the very next day (June 13) at 10 a.m.

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Printable version | Oct 23, 2020 4:28:12 PM |

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