The High Court of Delhi extended the interim protection granted to Vinod Dua in an FIR which alleges him of spreading misinformation and causing communal enmity on his YouTube channel.
Facts of the Case
The Petitioner, Vinod Dua is a known journalist and television anchor. BJP spokesperson Naveen Kumar filed an FIR against Dua. He complained about a section of Vinod Dua’s YouTube show which had talked about the riots that had happened in the Northeast district of Delhi. Hence, Mr Dua is so-called for spreading rumour and misinformation about the sensitive issue of the Delhi riots through his webcast. So during the current COVID crisis, it is causing public disaffection, which shall cause hatred and ill-will between different communities. For this, Mr Dua filed the present petition under Article 226 of the Constitution read with section 482 of CrPC. The plea prayed for the quashing of FIR registered under sections 290, 505, 505(2) of IPC.
In the last hearing, it came to notice that that there’s no prima facie case against the Petitioner. And there is no allegation that any adverse consequences occurred due to the webcast.
Arguments before Court
For the Petitioner Senior Advocate, Vikas Singh appeared. He claimed that when the petitioner receives anticipatory bail, the continuation of the proceedings will lead to significant misconduct. Because he would need to visit the police station repeatedly.
Mr Singh further argued that there is no explanation for the inordinate delay in making the complaint and registration of the FIR. It got filed more than 70 days after the webcast.
Mr Anil Soni who appeared for the state opposed the submission. He submits that investigation in the matter is at a nascent stage and notice is only issued to YouTube. Also, the Petitioner has so far not even called for an investigation.
The court referred to the Supreme Court judgment in Manzar Sayeed Khan vs. the State of Maharashtra in the last order.
The court further observed that there was a substantial unexplained delay in filing the complaint and registration of the FIR. It also observed that what the complainant allegedly said in the webcast, is not what appears in the transcript of the webcast.
The Single Bench of Justice Anup Jairam Bhambhani extends the interim protection. It is further noted that since a similar matter is pending before the Supreme Court, the hearing in the present matter shall be adjourned till the Supreme Court takes the decision.
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