Hindustan Times ST (Jaipur)


- Press Trust of India

The Supreme Court on Thursday quashed a sedition case against veteran scribe Vinod Dua for his alleged comments against Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his Youtube show last year, saying a 1962 verdict entitles every journalist to protection.

A bench comprising Justices U U Lalit and Vineet Saran, however, declined the prayer of Dua that no FIR should be registered against any media personnel with 10 years’ experience unless cleared by a committee, saying it would amount to an encroachme­nt into the domain of the executive.

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.

The bench on October 6 last year had reserved the verdict on the petition after hearing arguments for Dua, the Himachal Pradesh government and the complainan­t, a local BJP leader, in the case. 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.

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