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Meghalaya HC Refuses To Quash Criminal Case Against Journalist For Her Facebook Post About Continued Attacks Against Non-Tribals [Read Order]

LIVELAW NEWS NETWORK
12 Nov 2020 4:37 AM GMT
Meghalaya HC Refuses To Quash Criminal Case Against Journalist For Her Facebook Post About Continued Attacks Against Non-Tribals [Read Order]
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The Meghalaya High Court, on Tuesday, refused to quash a criminal case lodged against the journalist, Patricia Mukhim, for her facebook post about continued attacks on non-tribals in the state.Referring to a skirmish between tribal and non-tribal youths at Lawsohtun at the Basketball Court, Patricia, in her Facebook Post, had stated that this continued attack on non-tribals in Meghalaya,...

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The Meghalaya High Court, on Tuesday, refused to quash a criminal case lodged against the journalist, Patricia Mukhim, for her facebook post about continued attacks on non-tribals in the state.

Referring to a skirmish between tribal and non-tribal youths at Lawsohtun at the Basketball Court, Patricia, in her Facebook Post, had stated that this continued attack on non-tribals in Meghalaya, whose attackers and trouble mongers have never been arrested since 1979 has resulted in Meghalaya being a failed State for a long time. Later, after receipt of a complaint against this, the police registered a criminal case under Section 153A/500/505C IPC against her and also issued a notice under Section 41 A Cr.P.C requiring her to appear before the Investigating Officer. Thus, she approached the High Court by filing a petition under Section 482 CrPC. 

Before the High Court, it was contended that she had only expressed concern on the handling of the case in question by the police and the Dorbar Shnong and has only expressed the hope that this will not be another case lost in the police files but must be dealt with as per the law of the land. 

Justice W. Diengdoh, taking note of the Facebook Post, observed that the Facebook post sought to create a divide to the cordial relationship between the tribal and non-tribal living in the State of Meghalaya. While dismissing the petition, the court said:

"The author has gone on to assuage the feelings of the non-tribals by posing a question as to why they should live in perpetual fear in their own State when they have a right to call Meghalaya their state as the indigenous tribal does. Again, on going through the said Facebook post and as observed above, what can be deduced is that there is an attempt to make a comparison between tribals and non-tribals vis-à-vis their rights and security and the alleged tipping of the balance in favour of one community over the other. This, in the opinion of this Court would fall on the mischief of Section 153 A (a) IPC as it apparently seeks to promote disharmony or feelings of enmity, hatred or ill-will between two communities."

The court observed that S.153 A (1) (a) is not confined to the promotion of feelings of enmity etc. on grounds of religion only as argued by Shri Sen, but takes in promotion of such feelings on other grounds as well such as race, place of birth, residence, language, caste or community.

Last year, the High Court had convicted Patricia Mukhim for contempt for her article in "Shillong Times" under the caption "When Judges judge for themselves", in which she had criticised the series of orders passed by Justice Sen in suo moto proceedings for enhancing the retiral benefits of judges. Later, this order was stayed by the Supreme Court

Case: Patricia Mukhim vs . State Of Meghalaya [Crl.Petn. No. 9 of 2020]
Coram: Justice W. Diengdoh
Counsel:  Adv K. Paul,  AAG N.D. Chullai

Click here to Read/Download Judgment

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