SC bars cops from arresting journalist, but okays probe

4 months ago 33
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New Delhi: In a special hearing on Sunday, the Supreme Court granted

interim protection

from

arrest

to noted

journalist Vinod Dua

but allowed Himachal Pradesh police to conduct probe and interrogate him on an FIR lodged for allegedly misreporting the communal violence in the city in February and spreading fake news through his

YouTube

show.
A bench of Justices U U Lalit, M M Shantanagoudar and Vineet Saran said the police could quiz him at his residence only after giving him 24-hour notice. It asked the police to file a status report on the next date of hearing.
The Delhi high court, in an interim order, had stayed probe in another case lodged in the capital against Dua by a BJP member and the trial court had directed that no coercive steps be taken against him. However, he was summoned by Himachal Pradesh police on a separate complaint lodged in Shimla.
Appearing for Dua, senior advocate

Vikas Singh

repeatedly urged the court to stay the FIR as no case was made out against him and he could be harassed further by lodging of fresh cases in other states. He said the journalist was being targeted for criticising the government and many people could face criminal prosecution on that yardstick.The bench, however, declined his plea for staying the probe and directed him to extend full cooperate through video conferencing or online mode.
“Himachal Pradesh police shall be entitled to carry on the investigation including interrogation of the petitioner at his residence after giving him prior notice of 24 hours and complying with social distancing norms prescribed during Covid-19

pandemic

,” the bench said and issued notice to the Centre and the Himachal Pradesh government seeking their response on Dua's petition.

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