The Supreme Court on Thursday quashed an FIR lodged against journalist Patricia Mukhim for allegedly creating communal disharmony through her Facebook post.
A bench headed by Justice L Nageswara Rao allowed the plea filed by Mukhim against the Meghalaya High Court order which had refused to quash the FIR against her.
We have allowed the appeal, the bench said while pronouncing the judgement.
The top court had reserved its verdict in the matter on February 16.
Mukhim’s counsel had earlier argued before the apex court that there was no intention to create disharmony or conflict through the post which referred to an incident of a murderous assault on July 3, 2020.
The senior Shillong-based journalist had condemned the attack on five non-tribal youth by a gang of masked men, allegedly tribals, in Meghalaya.
On July 3 last year, masked miscreants had attacked five boys on a basketball court in Lawsohtun village. In the post, written days after the incident, Mukhim, the editor of The Shillong Times, had criticised the Lawsohtun village council for failing to identify the perpetrators. She wrote that Meghalaya has been a failed state because of continued attacks on non-tribal people and that such attackers have never been arrested since 1979.
On July 7, a village council in Meghalaya filed a complaint against Mukhim for her alleged inciting statements. Based on this, the police registered a criminal case under various sections of the Indian Penal Code against the journalist for promoting enmity between different groups. She was also charged with defamation, among other things. Besides, she was served a notice under Section 41 A of the Criminal Code of Procedure, requiring her to appear before the investigating officer.
In her plea against the High Court order, the senior Shillong-based journalist had said that she was facing persecution for “speaking the truth and seeking enforcement of rule of law against perpetrators of hate crime”,