APUWJ welcomes SC order
NEW DELHI, Mar 15: The Supreme Court Friday stayed the Meghalaya High Court judgment convicting The Shillong Times editor Patricia Mukhim and publisher Shoba Chaudhuri in a contempt case.
The top court stayed the operation of the judgment by which the high court had also imposed a fine of Rs 2 lakh each on the editor and the publisher.
The case relates to an article published by the paper on the perks and facilities for retired judges and their families.
The high court had also said that if the two persons failed to deposit the amount, they will have to undergo six months simple imprisonment and the paper will be banned.
A Supreme Court bench, headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, also issued notice to the high court registrar on the appeal filed by the editor and the publisher of newspaper.
The high court had on March 8 sentenced the editor and the publisher to sit in the corner of the court room till the rising of the court in the contempt case.
The Arunachal Pradesh Union of Working Journalists (APUWJ) welcomed Friday’s Supreme Court order staying the Meghalaya High Court’s judgment convicting The Shillong Times editor Patricia Mukhim and publisher Shoba Chaudhuri in a contempt case.
The earlier order issued by the High Court, which imposed a fine of Rs two lakh each on the editor and the publisher, brought deep distress to journalists across the country.
The threat to ban the publication of a newspaper that has been in operation for over 70 years by the court if the two were unable to pay the penalty should be condemned by all. The Shillong Times is a noted publication of repute. The APUWJ believes that even the ceasing of publications that may have their own leanings and editorial stance is ultimately a threat to free speech. Whether we agree or disagree with a view, it is our duty to let another have an opinion on an issue.
Democracy is enriched by the different dissenting voices and the closure of a newspaper only weakens a country. It is heartening to learn that the Supreme Court has shown maturity in its handling of the case and has struck down the order. (With inputs from PTI)