Supreme Court questions police over Dua case delay

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‘Why was an FIR registered in H.P. for migration in U.P. and Bihar?’

The Supreme Court on Wednesday questioned the Himachal Pradesh police about the unexplained delay in registering an FIR against veteran journalist Vinod Dua accusing him of sedition.

The FIR is based on a YouTube broadcast of Mr. Dua allegedly blaming the government about its COVID-19 preparedness and making personal allegations against Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

A Bench, led by Justice U.U. Lalit, raised questions about the claim made by the police that the broadcast led to mass migration in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. The court asked why an FIR was registered in Himachal Pradesh for reported migration in U.P. and Bihar.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said electronic media was a potent medium with widespread viewership. People were alarmed, panic stricken. Journalistic freedom is sacrosanct, but it should not be abused, he said.

Earlier, Mr. Dua, represented by senior advocate Vikas Singh, had contended that criticism of the government did not amount to sedition.

Mr. Dua has moved the Supreme Court to quash an FIR accusing him of sedition registered in the Kumarsain police station located on the outskirts of Shimla in May.

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