The Supreme Court on Thursday quashed the FIR registered against senior journalist Vinod Dua for his critical remarks against the Prime Minister and the Union government in a YouTube show.
The FIR was registered against Dua under provisions of the Indian Penal Code for offences of sedition, public nuisance, printing defamatory materials and public mischief on a complaint filed at Kumarsain police station in Shimla district on May 6th 2020 by BJP leader Shyam.
The bench of Justice Uday Umesh Lalit and Vineet Saran upheld the right of every journalist to criticise, even brutally, the government’s measures to improve or alter them through legal means. The free speech of a journalist should be protected from charges of sedition.
“Every journalist is entitled to the protection under the Kedar Nath Singh judgment(which defined the ambit of the offence of sedition under Section 124A IPC)“, the bench observed.
“The time is long past when the mere criticism of governments was sufficient to constitute sedition. The right to utter honest and reasonable criticism is a source of strength to a community rather than a weakness,” the judgment observed.
The bench observed that it is only when the words or expressions have the pernicious tendency or intention of creating public disorder or disturbance of law and order that Sections 124A is attracted.