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Key Takeaways

  • The case was filed to quash the FIR against the appellant.
  • A facebook post was made by the appellant against whom the FIR was registered.
  • The Honorable Supreme Court quashed the FIR.

Why the case was filed?

  • The case, Patricia Mukhim V. State of Meghalaya[CrA 141 of 2021] was filed by the appellant when the High Court of Meghalaya dismissed her plea to quash the FIR filed against her under section 153 A and 505(1)(c) of IPC.

Facts of the case

  • Times Editor Patricia Mukhim posted on Facebook on violence against non-tribal people in Meghalaya.
  • The appellant in her post spoke about the protection of non-tribals and their equality in the state.
  • The post was directed against the apathy shown by the Chief Minister of Meghalaya, the Director General of Police and Dorbar Shnong of the area stating that no action is taken by them against the culprits who brutally attacked the non-tribal youngsters
  • An FIR was filed against her for the respective post charging her under section 153 A and 505(1)(c) of IPC.

Decision by the Supreme Court

  • Supreme court in the said case remarked, “ Free speech of the citizens of this country cannot be stifled by implicating them in criminal cases, unless such speech has the tendency to affect public order” and quashed the FIR registered against the appellant over a facebook post on violence against non-tribal people in Meghalaya.
  • The court noted, “Disapprobation of government inaction cannot be branded as an attempt to promote hatred between different communities.”
  • Referring to the Section 153 A and 505(1)(c) of the IPC, the bench observed that only written or spoken words have the tendency of creating public disorder or disturbance of law and order or affecting public tranquility, the law needs to step in to prevent such activity.
  • Considering the post the bench observed that the appellant’s fervent plea for protection of non-tribals living in the state of Meghalaya and for their equality cannot, by any stretch of imagination, be categorized as hate speech.
  • The bench particularly referred to a judgment the Canadian Supreme Court [ Saskatchewan ( Human Rights Commission) V. Whatcott] which explained a workable approach in interpreting ‘hatred’ as is used in legislative provisions prohibiting hate speech.

Conclusion

  • At the most, the post is considered to highlight the discrimination against non-tribals in the state of Meghalaya. However, the appellant made it clear that criminal elements have no community and immediate action should be taken against them.
  • The court also observed that the allegations made in FIR, even if they are taken in face value and accepted in their entirety do not prima facie constitute any or make out a case against the accused.

What are your points of view regarding the decision taken by the Honorable court in this case?

Please share them in the comment section.

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