The Supreme Court will conduct a special hearing on Sunday to urgently hear a plea filed by veteran journalist Vinod Dua who is seeking protection against coercive actions in connection with multiple FIRs registered against him.
According to Bar and Bench, the Bench comprising Justices UU Lalit, Mohan M Shantanagoudar, and Vineet Saran will hear Dua's plea.
In a Facebook post on Friday, Vinod Dua said that the Himachal Pradesh Police arrived at his home and served him a notice. "Himachal Pradesh police arrived at my home 10 minutes ago to serve me a hard copy of the notice asking me to appear before them by tomorrow in Kumarsain Police Station," he wrote.
This was only a day after the Delhi High Court stayed the investigation in a criminal case against Dua, for allegedly making statements conducive to public mischief, saying there was an unexplained delay of nearly three months in filing the complaint and lodging of the FIR.
The court, in an interim order, said it was of a prima facie view that further proceedings or probe are likely to cause unjustified harassment to the scribe and stayed the investigation till July 23.
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 complaint was lodged by BJP spokesperson Naveen Kumar. In his complaint to the Crime Branch, Kumar accused Dua of "spreading fake news" through "The Vinod Dua Show" on YouTube.
Kumar has alleged that Dua had called the Prime Minister "toothless". "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 reporting's full of false content misleading context...(sic)" Kumar said in his complaint.
The Editors Guild of India had on Monday issued a statement on the FIR against Dua and said that it was "a brazen attack on his free speech and fair comment".
"The Guild unequivocally condemns this practice and urges the police to respect Constitutionally guaranteed freedoms rather than behave in the manner that raises questions on its independence," the Guild said.
(With input from Agencies)