Supreme Court asks Meghalaya to respond to journalist’s appeal

Charges of hate crime were levelled against Patricia Mukhim over a Facebook post.

The Supreme Court on Wednesday sought a response from the Meghalaya government on an appeal by senior journalist and Padma Shri awardee Patricia Mukhim to quash hate crime proceedings against her for a Facebook post.

Ms. Mukhim, the Editor of Shillong Times, said her social media post was only an expression of truth in the face of persecution.

A Bench led by Justice L. Nageswara Rao issued notice on her appeal against the Meghalaya High Court’s refusal to quash the proceedings against under Sections 153a (hate), 500 (defamation) and 505(c) (incite a community or caste to commit an offence against another). The offences are non-bailable.

Ms. Mukhim, represented by advocates Vrinda Grover, Soutik Banerjee and Prasanna S., said her Facebook post only alerted the authorities to enforce the law against the perpetrators of a brutal attack on six non-tribal boys in the State.

“A plain reading of the petitioner’s Facebook post makes it clear that the intent and purpose of this post is to appeal for impartial enforcement of rule of law; equal treatment before the law of all citizens; condemnation of targeted violence against members of a minority group; and end to impunity for violence,” Ms. Mukhim’s petition said.

She said her effort to ensure peace and harmony between communities and groups in the State has led to her, in turn, being accused of fostering hate.

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