The Supreme Court Thursday quashed the sedition case registered against journalist Vinod Dua in Shimla, Himachal Pradesh. The case was filed against Dua by a local BJP leader in Himachal Pradesh over his YouTube show.
A bench of Justices U U Lalit and Vineet Saran had on October 6 last year reserved the verdict on the petition after hearing arguments for Dua, the Himachal Pradesh government and the complainant in the case.
On the issue of protection of freedom of speech and expression of media personnel, it said, “Every journalist is entitled to protection under the Kedar Nath Singh judgment (the famous verdict of 1962 on the scope and ambit of offence of sedition in the IPC).”
While upholding 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.
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.
Dua was charged under sections 124A (sedition), 268 (public nuisance), 501 (printing matter known to be defamatory) and 505 (statements conducive to public mischief) on the basis of a complaint by BJP’s Mahasu unit president Ajay Shyam. The BJP leader claimed that Dua made bizarre allegations on his 15-minute YouTube show on March 30.
The complainant had alleged that the journalist accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of using “deaths and terror attacks” to get votes.