New Delhi, June 9 : The Delhi High Court will on Wednesday hear a petition filed by veteran journalist Vinod Dua seeking quashing of an FIR registered against him for allegedly “spreading rumors and misinformation regarding the sensitive issue of Delhi riots”.
The plea filed by Dua is listed for hearing before a single judge bench of the high court presided over by Justice Anup Jairam Bhambani. The plea states that the FIR against Dua “smacks of biasedness” and is “malafide.”
Dua in his plea has stated that the said FIR registered against him is a proof of ” political vendetta” and is nothing but an attempt to stifle free speech “guaranteed to him under Article 19 (1)(a) of the Constitution of India”.
“The FIR registered against the petitioner is politically motivated and the registration of the present FIR is purely to settle scores for dissenting against the functioning of the Central government against its mismanagement of Delhi riots and the inefficiency of the Delhi Police,” the plea said.
The petitioner has sought the court”s direction to the police restraining them from taking any coercive steps against the petitioner or otherwise, in pursuance of the FIR.
“The registration of the FIR against the petitioner is not only a travesty of justice, but also blatant violation of his fundamental rights as the malicious prosecution initiated by the respondent against the petitioner has been filed by the complainant after 75 days, without any proof of violence or any proof that the complainant in a bonafide manner approached the platform — YouTube — to remove the alleged objectionable content,” the plea said.
The present FIR is nothing but an attempt to malign Dua”s reputation and stifle his free speech because he had criticised the Central government, the plea said.
The plea also sought a permanent stay on any and all kinds of inquiry or investigation pursuant to the said FIR.
He also prayed the court for an order restraining the Delhi Police and/or any other investigating agency from inquiring/approaching or summoning Dua in relation to the FIR until the final adjudication of the present petition.
The Delhi Police had on last Friday registered an FIR against the senior journalist alleging that through a video uploaded by him, he was deliberately spreading rumors and misinformation about the sensitive issue of Delhi riots.
“The comments/remarks in the video are in communal overtone. During the current crisis of Covid-19 and the present sensitive situation, such rumours and misinformation through social media is causing public disaffection which shall cause hatred and ill-will between different communities,” the FIR, a copy of which was accessed by IANS, read.
The case was registered under various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), including Sections 290 (punishment for public nuisance) an 505 (statements conducing to public mischief).
The FIR was registered pursuant to a complaint filed by BJP leader Naveen Kumar who accused the journalist of ”spreading fake news” through ”The Vinod Dua Show” on YouTube.
“Dua as a journalist is running a show namely ”The Vinod Dua Show” in YouTube. In the show dated 11.03.2020 namely ”Ep 245: Jyotiraditya Scindia joins BJP”, Vinod Dua has made a false and imposter reporting whereby he used genuine content and shared same with false contextual information and thereof he also used the genuine sources and impersonated it with false, made-up sources,” the complaint filed by the BJP leader read.
“In the said show, Vinod Dua had also casted manipulated and fabricated reporting whereby the genuine information was manipulated by him to deceive. In the said show, certain new content was shown which is 100 per cent false, and was designed to deceive and do harm,” he added.
“The journalist Mr Vinod Dua has blatantly lied or has misinformed his viewers about the series of events. There are also a series of old instances where bizarre and unfounded allegations have been made against the government, police and political leaders. The report is full of false content,” Kumar said in his complaint.