Supreme Court restrains police from arresting Vinod Dua in sedition case, refuses to stay probe
The FIR alleging sedition was filed by BJP leader Ajay Shyam for Dua's YouTube show on March 30, which criticised the union government for its implementation of the national lockdown.
In an immediate relief for journalist Vinod Dua, the Supreme Court in a special hearing on Sunday ordered that he should not be arrested till July 6 in a sedition case lodged against him in Himachal Pradesh over his YouTube show. However, the court refused to stay the probe and gave Shimla police judicial order to interrogate him even at his Delhi residence.
The top court said that Dua will have to join the investigation and there shall be no stay on the ongoing probe undertaken by the Himachal Pradesh police. However, the investigating authority shall give a 24-hour prior notice to Dua before they'd want to interrogate him.
A bench of justices U U Lalit, M M Shantanagoudar and Vineet Saran issued notices to the Centre and the state government and sought their responses within two weeks on the matter as well.
Dua had approached the apex court seeking the quashing of an FIR registered against him by the Himachal Pradesh Police. The FIR is regarding a video uploaded by Dua on March 30 on the online video streaming platform, YouTube, which criticises the union government for its implementation of the national lockdown.
Besides seeking the quashing of FIR, Dua has also asked the top court to issue a direction that FIRs against mediapersons with at least 10 years’ of experience should not be registered unless cleared by a committee constituted by every state government comprising the Chief Justice of the concerned High Court or a judge designated by him, the leader of the opposition and the home minister of the state.
“State governments who do not find a particular telecast to be in sync with their political ideologies register FIRs against persons of the media to harass and intimidate them so that they succumb to the line of the state or else face the music,” the petition stated.
The journalist was summoned by Shimla police in connection with a sedition charge levelled against him by local BJP leader Ajay Shyam.
Senior advocate Vikas Singh, who appeared for Dua, claimed that the FIR was a move to harass the journalist for airing views unpalatable to the government.
On June 11, the Delhi high court had stayed another FIR against Dua for allegedly spreading fake news about the Delhi riots through his YouTube show.