Daily Judgement

Statements made during talk show by Journalist Vinod Dua regarding inadequate facilities to deal with Covid-19 pandemic, can at best be termed as expression of disapprobation of actions of Government, and would not amount to sedition
Updated On : Jul 01, 2021 | Uday Umesh Lalit J, Vineet Saran J. | Supreme Court Of India | Aironline 2021 SC 275

FIR referred to a talk show uploaded on 30.03.2020, in which he talked about migrant workers, inadequate facilities to carry out testings, export of respiratory devices and sanitisers and said about locking down that “ when the supply chains have been closed when the shops are closed, some people had gone to the extent of fearing food riots which have not happened in our country could happen”. Also subsequently told that the Pulwama attack used as political events to garner votes, surgical strikes were also used to gain politically by the Prime Minister.  


The Supreme Court held that statements attributed to a journalist that the Prime Minister had used deaths and terror attacks to garner votes or that the Prime Minister had garnered votes through acts of terrorism, were not made in the Talk Show as no such assertions found a place in the true translation of original episode in Hindi.


If he made statements regarding inadequate facilities to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic, those comments cannot be anything other than an appraisal of the situation then obtaining and it was not factually incorrect.


As quoted by Uday Umesh Lalit J, “Statements by a journalist can at best be termed as an expression of disapprobation of actions of the Government and its functionaries so that prevailing situation could be addressed quickly and efficiently. They were certainly not made with the intent to incite people or showed a tendency to create disorder or disturbance of public peace by resort to violence. He was within the permissible limits. Considering the drift of the entire talk show and all the statements put together it cannot be said that the petitioner crossed the limits.”


The prosecution of the petitioner for the offences punishable under Sections 124A and 505 (1) (b) 3 of the IPC would be unjust. Those offences, going by the allegations in the FIR and other attending circumstances, are not made out at all and any prosecution in respect thereof would be violative of the rights of the petitioner guaranteed under Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution.

Appearing counsel: Mr. Vikas Singh

Image Credits : thewire.in

Shweta Wagh