Tribune News Service
New Delhi, October 6
The Supreme Court on Tuesday reserved its order on senior journalist Vinod Dua’s petition seeking quashing of a sedition case registered against him in Shimla at the instance of a local BJP leader.
A Bench headed by Justice UU Lalit reserved the verdict after hearing arguments from senior advocate Vikash Singh, representing Dua, Additional Solicitor General SV Raju for government and senior counsel Mahesh Jethmalani for the complainant.
Contending that none of the ingredients of the offences alleged against Dua in the FIR were made out, Singh urged the court to quash the FIR as what was said by the senior journalist in his show had already been reported by several TV channels.
Opposing Dua’s plea, ASG Raju argued that even if one cognizable offence was made out, the FIR could not be quashed.
On laying down guidelines on registration of cases against journalists as was the case with doctors, he said journalism wasn’t like the medical profession over which MCI exercised greater control and regulation.
“Anyone can become a journalist. There are no qualifications. No expertise is required. A layman can become a journalist. There is no control like how the MCI exercises control for doctors. Journalism is not a profession, it is an activity,” Raju submitted.
The Supreme Court on June 14 refused to stay the probe into a sedition case lodged against Dua by Himachal Pradesh Police but protected him from arrest in the case.
It had asked Dua to join the probe and cooperate with the police in the process through video conferencing or online mode. Police can interrogate Dua at his residence in Delhi after giving him a 24-hour prior notice, it added.
The Shimla FIR was registered at the instance of Himachal Pradesh BJP leader Ajay Shyam who filed a criminal complaint against Dua accusing him of instigating violence against the government by allegedly spreading fake news.