The High Court of Karnataka on Tuesday extended the interim protection granted to Aaj Tak consulting editor Sudhir Chaudhary till October 9.
The HC bench of Justice Hemant Chandangoudar heard the counsel for Chaudhary, Uday Holla on the plea for quashing the FIR lodged against the journalist in the Seshadripuram police station in Bengaluru and adjourned the hearing after extending the protection.
Chaudhary’s counsel argued that criticism of government policies is permissible and it does not attract the provision of Section 153A (promoting enmity on grounds of religion) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) under which Chaudhary is booked.
He also pointed out that since the report was published on September 11 there has been no violence which means that people have taken it rightly.
The HC had earlier on September 15 directed the police not to take coercive action against Chaudhary.
The complaint was filed by Shivakumar S, the Assistant Administrative Officer of the Karnataka Minorities Development Corporation Ltd, alleging that Chaudhary in a programme on Aaj Tak channel spread misinformation on a government scheme.
The Karnataka government’s Swavalambi Sarathi Scheme provides 50 per cent subsidy on bank loans obtained by religious minorities for purchase of commercial transport vehicles up to Rs three lakh. The report on the project allegedly termed it a 'minority appeasement' scheme.