No coercive action, interim order to continue in Vinod Dua sedition case

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday extended till September 8 the interim protection from arrest to veteran journalist Vinod Dua in connection with a sedition case registered against him in Himachal Pradesh’s Shimla.

A three-judge bench of the apex court, headed by Justice Uday Umesh Lalit, today extended the interim order that no coercive actions, including no arresting of Vinod Dua, can be made till further hearing in the case, on September 8.

Dua is accused of making certain alleged statements in his YouTube program, the Vinod Dua show, which was allegedly of the nature to incite communal hatred and may lead to some kind of breach of peace and communal disharmony, the prosecution submitted.

Himachal Pradesh Police had earlier also submitted its report in a sealed cover, before the Supreme Court regarding the probe against Dua under sedition charges.

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Senior Supreme Court lawyer and former Additional Solicitor General Vikas Singh, appearing for Dua, had submitted that the accused being a journalist has all the rights to freedom of speech and has also the legitimate right to criticise the government.

“Where is the sedition? Sedition is when you incite violence. When you incite public disorder, but where it is in my case?” he asked.

Citing a judgement, Singh stated that the democratic form of government allows participation of public and this is a basic feature. Democracy can neither work, nor prosper, if people do not go out and share their views, he said.

Singh also submitted to the top court that the meaning of public order has been narrowed, which leaves out the possibility of remote connection. The idea here is a fundamental right vis-a-vis a false prosecution, he added.

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“If this happens, I will not be able to speak at all. A journalist will have to stop working till he gets exonerated”, Singh told the Apex Court.

The top court was hearing the petition filed by veteran journalist, Vinod Dua, against FIR related to sedition lodged in Shimla for his YouTube video, against the Central government.

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