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Supreme Court quashes FIR against journalist Vinod Dua




The Supreme Court on Thursday quashed an FIR registered by Himachal Pradesh Police against senior journalist Vinod Dua in connection with his comments critical of the government’s handling of COVID-19 lockdown on his YouTube channel.

A bench of Justices U.U. Lalit and Vineet Saran said the court has quashed the proceedings and FIR, as it emphasized that every journalist should be protected as per judgment in the matter, Kedar Nath Singh Versus state of Bihar (1962).

The top court while upholding the validity of Section 124A of IPC (sedition), a Constitution bench of the top court had in Kedarnath Singh’s case (1962) restricted the scope of the law by prescribing certain safeguards. The court had then said, “a citizen has a right to say whatever he likes about the government or its policies but should not incite violence.”

The Bench declined to entertain Dua’s prayer for setting up of a high-level committee in each state for prior vetting of sedition charges against journalists of 10-year standing. The bench said, “It will be directly encroaching upon the legislative domain.”

On June 14, 2020, the top court had protected Dua from arrest on his plea to quash the May 6 FIR. The complaint was filed by a BJP leader Ajay Shyam against Dua accusing him of instigating violence against the government by allegedly spreading fake news.


Over 43K Covid cases and 640 deaths in 24 hrs in India




India on Wednesday recorded 43,654 fresh cases of Covid-19 with 640 deaths, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare data showed.

On Tuesday, India recorded 29,689 new Covid-19 cases, less than the 30,000-mark in 132 days, and 415 deaths.

The total number of deaths has reached 4,22,022 as per the government data.

According to the government, 41,678 people were discharged from hospitals and health centres in the last 24 hours, taking the total number of cured to 3,06,63,147 till date as the virus continued to infect less than one lakh people over the last 50 days.

According to the health ministry data, a total of 44,61,56,659 Covid vaccine doses have been administered in India so far, including 40,02,358 in the last 24 hours.

The total number of samples tested so far has reached 46,09,00,978 as on July 27, including 17,36,857 samples tested on Tuesday.

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4 BRO men among 9 missing in Himachal Pradesh’s flash flood



One person was killed and nine, including four Border Roads Organisation (BRO) men, feared washed away in a flash flood in Himachal Pradesh’s cold desert district of Lahaul-Spiti early Wednesday, officials said.

The disaster occurred following a flash flood in the Tozing rivulet in Udaipur subdivision, some 15 km from district headquarters Keylong, after a cloudburst.

Superintendent of Police Manav Verma told IANS over the phone that the missing people include four BRO men and two labourers of a telecom company. They were travelling towards Pangi-Killar in a vehicle which was swept away in the flash flood.

He said one of the injured was referred to a government hospital in Kullu town, while three people were rescued.

Reports say traffic on the Manali-Leh highway was also hampered owing to massive landslides. Several vehicles, including tourists, have been stuck on the highway.

The Mandi-Kullu-Manali national highway was also disconnected from Chandigarh due to landslides at several places ahead of Mandi town. Public transport and tourist vehicles were said to be stuck there.

Owing to heavy rains, the BRO has closed the Manali-Leh highway and the Manali-Udaipur highway. The tourists and locals have been prohibited to travel beyond Manali towards Leh via Keylong till further orders.

The government has issued an advisory for tourists and locals to refrain from high mountains, wandering near rivers and other places vulnerable to landslides.

Earlier this week, nine tourists were killed when a massive landslide occurred on the Sangla-Bateseri road in Kinnaur district. They were travelling in a vehicle.

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ED seeks details of FIR, banking records of Kundra in porn case




The Enforcement Directorate (ED) is all set to launch a probe into the alleged financial dealings of Raj Kundra, the businessman husband of Bollywood actor Shilpa Shetty, who has been arrested by the Mumbai police as the prime accused in a pornographic films racket case.

According to senior ED officials familiar with the development, the financial probe agency has sought the copy of the FIR from the Mumbai Crime Branch.

An official of the ED said that the agency has also sought the details of the banking transactions of Kundra related to Hotshots and BollyFame.

The official said that before filing a case, the ED will also check financial transactions in other countries into the bank accounts of Kundra.

Earlier in the day, Kundra was sent to judicial custody till August 10 by a Mumbai court.

In a major swoop, the Mumbai Police arrested Kundra on July 19 for his alleged role in a sensational case of producing and distributing pornographic content through mobile applications.

Soon after his arrest, Kundra was remanded to police custody till July 23, which was extended till July 27.

The police also raided Kundra’s home in Juhu last Friday and recorded the statement of Shilpa Shetty, besides summoning others.

The pornography case first surfaced in February this year.

Kundra has been charged with offences under various provisions of the Indian Penal Code, IT Act and Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act.

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