oppn parties Going After Vinod Dua Is Not Right, Dissenting Voices Will Always Be There

News Snippets

  • University vice-chancellors in West Bengal decide not to hold final-year examinations despite UGC prod, will instead go by the state government advised 80-20 formula where 80% will be marked on performance in past semesters and 20% on internal assessments in the final semester
  • The Centre wants the ITI and other top Indian firms to bid for 5G as Chinese firms Huawei and ZTE are not likely to be allowed to participate
  • India and China agree on total disengagement to return to peace ahead of the next round of military talks
  • The Supreme Court allows delivery of summons and notices via WhatsApp and email, but questions remain on proof of actual receipt
  • National Investigation Agency says the proceeds from the Kerala gold smuggling case could have been used for terrorist activities
  • Four Maoists shot dead in Valmiki Tiger Reserve in Bihar
  • Despite localized lockdown, Covid cases continue to rise at an alarming rate in West Bengal. Newer areas brought under containment zones in Kolkata
  • ICSE, ISC results declared, Average scores in the English paper, 20% lower this year than the average in most years, pulls down the aggregate for most candidates
  • IIP contracts by 35% in May. Manufacturing goes down by 39.3%
  • Row erupts over CBSE's decision to reduce the syllabus by 30% this academic year due to the disruption caused by the pandemic. Experts say several lessons that the ruling dispensation does not like are being removed
  • Gangster Vikas Dubey's nephew killed in an encounter by UP police who also pick up his key aide Raju Khullar and his son Adarsh
  • MHA sets up an inter-ministerial committee to probe the alleged financial misdeeds of three trusts linked to the Gandhi family
  • Actor Jagdeep, most famous for his Soorma Bhopali act in Sholay, passes away
  • Pakistan says Kulbhushan Jadhav has declined to file a review petition and will stick to his mercy plea. India calls it a farce
  • India to keep a strict vigil to confirm that the Chinese are abiding by the deal on the pullback at the LAC
Amitabh Bachchan and his son Abhishek admitted to hospital for coronavirus
oppn parties
Going After Vinod Dua Is Not Right, Dissenting Voices Will Always Be There

By Sunil Garodia
First publised on 2020-06-14 14:59:05

About the Author

Sunil Garodia Editor-in-Chief of indiacommentary.com. Current Affairs analyst and political commentator. Writes for a number of publications.

Vinod Dua is a long-standing and respected journalist. He is not a pamphleteer. Hence, if some people (read ruling party members) think that he is guilty of spreading fake news, promoting enmity between communities and sedition, they are toeing the same line of intolerance to anything that questions any act of the ruling dispensation that has been the hallmark of the ruling party. The cases filed against him all over the country are nothing but a ploy to harass him and perhaps "show him his place" and silence his voice.

Dua, like many other journalists, runs a YouTube channel where he puts out videos commenting on current affairs. These videos appear on HW News. In one such video, on the Delhi riots, he had made comments about how the Delhi police had not charged BJP leaders who had made inflammatory speeches that had inflamed passions and had possibly led to the riots. He had also questioned Prime Minister Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah's preoccupation with the Trump visit and how they could not find time to visit the riot-affected areas to calm inflamed passions. He had also asked the Delhi police to publish a fact-sheet to show how, why, when and how many people from the minority community were picked up in connection with the riots.

Subsequently, an FIR was lodged against him in Delhi by a member of the BJP. The Delhi police charged Dua under sections 290 and 505 of the IPC for creating a public nuisance and promoting enmity between communities. The Delhi High Court, after examining the facts of the case, found that the FIR needed to be examined on the touchstone of law as per several judicial precedents, ordered a stay on the FIR. But immediately thereafter, an FIR on the same issue was registered against Dua in Himachal Pradesh and later in other parts of the country.

Hence, it is obvious that vested interests are not willing to let the law take its own course in the case. They have taken it upon themselves to abuse the legal process by filing several cases on the same issue in several courts of the country. This is a clear case of harassment of a respected journalist. If Vinod Dua is indeed guilty of creating a public nuisance, promoting enmity between communities or worse, let the Delhi High Court and then the Supreme Court decide that. He will definitely face punishment as per the law if found guilty. But if vested interests try to browbeat and harass him by filing multiple cases, it amounts to an abuse of law. The Supreme Court has already granted Dua protection from being arrested till July 6. It should now order that all FIRs lodged anywhere in the country against Dua on this issue must be heard by one court. Multiple hearing by different judges leading to different judgments will complicate matters and will not serve the ends of justice. It will only embolden resourceful people who like to harass others.  

The ruling party (and its cohorts) have to understand that it cannot expect to get the 100 percent backing of the commentariat. There will always be a significant percentage of commentators who will write against its decisions. It has to live with this in the same way as it is living and running the country with less than 38 percent of the popular votes (45 percent if one considers the NDA as a whole).  By showing intolerance against those who speak up or question it, the BJP is just showing that it is not a democratic party despite senior leaders making a public show of being so.