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The Supreme Court allowed Patricia Mukhim appeal challenging the order.

Highlights

  • A police case against Shillong Times Editor was scrapped
  • The case was filed for allegedly creating communal disharmony
  • The Supreme Court upheld the right to free speech

New Delhi:

A police case against Shillong Times Editor Patricia Mukhim for allegedly creating communal disharmony was scrapped today by the Supreme Court, which upheld the right to free speech. The case was filed last year over her Facebook post on violence against non-tribal people in Meghalaya.

“Free speech of citizens cannot be stifled by implicating them in criminal cases, unless such speech has the tendency to affect public order,” said the Bench led by Justice L Nageswara Rao.

The Facebook post, the court said, was directed against the apathy shown by the Chief Minister of Meghalaya, the Director General of Police and the Dorbar Shnong of the area in not taking any action against the culprits who attacked the non-tribal young people.

“Disapprobation of governmental inaction cannot be branded as an attempt to promote hatred between different communities,” the court said.

Ms Mukhim had hit out at the Lawsohtun village “dorbar” (council) on Facebook for failing to identify “murderous elements” after five boys were attacked at a basketball court in July. Two persons were arrested in the case.

On November 10, a single-judge bench of the Meghalaya High Court had dismissed her appeal to cancel the police case against her, filed on a complaint by the Lawsohtun Dorbar Shnong.

The Supreme Court allowed her appeal challenging the order.

The counsel for Meghalaya government had earlier claimed in top court that her Facebook post gave “communal colour” to a clash between minor boys. Her post portrayed it as a communal incident between tribal and non-tribal people, he had said.

Ms Mukhim’s lawyer had argued that there was no intention to create disharmony or conflict through the post.


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