The Supreme Court today sought response from the Meghalaya government on a plea of journalist Patricia Mukhim challenging the Meghalaya High Court order that refused to quash an FIR against her in connection with the Lawsohtun incident.
A bench of Justices L Nageswara Rao, Indu Malhotra and Vineet Saran issued notice to the State government and sought its response by February 5.
The top court also permitted senior lawyer Vrinda Grover, appearing for Mukhim, to serve the copy of the petition to the lawyer for the State government.
Mukhim, the editor of The Shillong Times, in her Special Leave Petition (SLP) said that she has been facing persecution for speaking the truth and seeking enforcement of rule of law against perpetrators of hate crime.
She has said in her plea that a plain reading of her Facebook post would make the intent clear that the purpose of the post is to appeal for impartial enforcement of rule of law and equal treatment before the law of all citizens.
It may be mentioned that the Meghalaya High Court on November 10, last year, has refused to quash a police complaint against Mukhim for her Facebook post in connection with the incident at Lawsohtun here.
While disposing of Mukhim’s plea, the High Court had said that the police should be given a free hand to probe into the matter.
“In the event, the investigating agency is required to be given a free hand to investigate the matter and to come to its own conclusion in due process of law,” the High Court had said while rejecting the petition filed by Mukhim.
“There is an attempt to make a comparison between tribals and non-tribals vis–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 High Court had said.
It may be mentioned that Mukhim had hit out at the Lawsohtun dorbar on Facebook for failing to identify the “murderous elements” after five boys were attacked at a basketball court in July, last year.
Eleven people were picked up and two were arrested in the case.
The Lawsohtun dorbar lodged an FIR against Mukhim on July 6, last year, for her Facebook post, alleging that her statement incited communal tension and might instigate communal conflict.
Based on this, the police filed a criminal case against Mukhim. She was subsequently booked under Sections 153A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language etc. and other provisions of the IPC.
Then she approached the High Court for quashing the police case against her. After the High Court rejected her plea, she moved the Supreme Court.