TNT Desk | December 13, 2018
A report published in Meghalaya’s leading English Daily , The Shillong Times on December 10 has landed the newspaper’s editor Patricia Mukhim as well as the publisher in trouble. The Meghalaya High Court Judge SR Sen served a show cause notice to Mukhim as well as the publisher while asking them to make a “personal appearance” in the court.
And when on Thursday morning, The Shillong Times’ editor, Patricia Mukhim, appeared in the court of judge SR Sen, he reportedly asked her: “What is your qualification, madam, to write about judges?” The Meghalaya High Court judge had summoned the editor for alleged contempt of court after the daily published a particular report on December 10. Titled — “When judges judge for themselves”, it reported on a recent order passed by Sen calling for better facilities for retired judges and their families.
Sen is set to retire in March next year.
The same day the report was published, Sen sent a show-cause notice to Mukhim and the paper’s publisher, Shobha Chaudhuri, asking for an explanation for why contempt charges should not be initiated against them.
The notice also reportedly stated that it was “shocking that the publisher and editor of said newspaper without knowing the law or background of the case is making comments which is definitely derogatory to a judge who is handling the case as well as the entire judges’ community”.
The matter has been placed before the Meghalaya High Court’s chief justice, who will assign it to another bench. According to a lawyer based in Shillong, this transfer is required by due process: since Sen’s judgment was the subject of the report, another bench must hear the matter.
The next hearing is scheduled on December 17 where Mukhim and Chaudhuri are expected to explain in writing their position. If the court does find Mukhim and Chaudhuri guilty of contempt, they could be end up serving time in jail.