The Supreme Court on Thursday quashed criminal proceedings against Shillong Times editor Patricia Mukhim, reported.
The FIR against Mukhim had been , over a Facebook post she had put up on violence against non-tribal people in Meghalaya. Mukhim was accused by a village council of inciting "communal tension" in the state.
The Meghalaya High Court subsequently refused to quash the criminal proceedings against Mukhim, who then challenged the court's refusal.
Mukhim's counsel Vrinda Grover had submitted that "what needs to be seen is what was said in the post, and what was the intent and purpose". Mukhim was fulfilling her responsibility as a senior journalist and as a responsible citizen, Grover said, and her Facebook post was to ensure that violence towards a community comes to an end.
On its part, the state argued that the fact that Mukhim "is a well-known journalist is relevant" since then the "possible and probable effects of her action would be high".
Mukhim's Facebook post
Mukhim's post on Facebook was in reference to an attack on a group of non-tribal boys by 20-25 unidentified youths at a basketball court in Shillong on July 3, 2020.
On July 4, she wrote on Facebook: "Why should our non-tribal brethren continue to live in perpetual fear in their own state? Those born and brought up here have as much right to call Meghalaya their state as the indigenous tribal does."
The post continued: "The fact that such attackers and trouble mongers since 1979 have never been arrested and if arrested never penalised according to law suggests that Meghalaya has been a failed state for a long time now..."
In its , Lawsohtun village head Lurshai Shylla said that Mukhim's post mentioned the 1979 conflict between tribals and non-tribals, and that some media houses in West Bengal had already reported on the matter with "communal colour", . The complaint stated that this put "all Khasis outside in extreme danger".