The Supreme Court Tuesday extended till July 15 the protection granted to senior journalist Vinod Dua from any coercive action in a sedition case filed against him by a local BJP leader in Himachal Pradesh over his YouTube show and sought a report in a sealed cover on the probe conducted so far by the state police.
An FIR against Dua under provisions of Indian Penal Code for offences of sedition, public nuisance, printing defamatory materials and public mischief was lodged by BJP leader Shyam at Kumarsain police station in Shimla district on May 6 and the journalist was asked to join the probe.
Shyam has alleged that Dua, in his YouTube show, accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of using "deaths and terror attacks" to get votes.
A bench of Justices U U Lalit, M M Shantanagoudar and Vineet Saran, which had granted protection from arrest to Dua in an unprecedented hearing conducted on a Sunday on June 14, asked the Himachal Pradesh police to file the report on the probe conducted so far in the case and said that it would now fix the case for final disposal.
"What about the records of the investigation. What all has been done till now? File it in the registry in a sealed cover," the bench said, adding that the earlier order will continue till then.
The bench also made clear that Dua, who has so far joined the police probe through virtual means, was not required to answer the supplementary questionnaire when his counsel and senior lawyer Vikas Singh alleged that the repeated questioning of the journalist amounted to harassment.
On June 14, a Sunday, the top court had restrained the Himachal Pradesh police from arresting Dua till "further orders".
However, it had refused to stay the ongoing probe against him. It had asked Dua will have to join the investigation "through video-conferencing or online mode" as offered by him in his response to the summons issued by the police seeking his personal appearance.