Journalist Patricia Mukhim was asked to pay off a fine of Rs. 2 lakh after being found guilty of contempt, received a pardon from the Supreme Court on Friday. The Shillong-based journalist was found guilty by the Meghalaya High court after the ‘Shillong Times’, the newspaper she headed, has published few articles on the perks and facilities for retired judges and their families. The Shillong Times publisher Shobhan Chaudhuri was also offered with a similar punishment.
A justice bench led by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi said that the operation of the judgment as it was agreed to hear a petition by Ms. Mukhim.
A justice bench, comprising of Chief Justice MY Mir, and Justice SR Sen of the Meghalaya High Court had held Shillong Times liable for the court’s contempt.
If they failed to pay off the fine within a week, reads the order, both would be sent to prison for 6 months and Shillong Times will also be banned.
According to Shillong Times, Justice Sudip Ranjan Sen was also a part of the justice bench, which fined the publisher and the editor, wanted various provisions for retired Chief Justices and Judges with their children and spouses.
While delivering the judgment, the justice bench had asked the publisher and the editor of Shillong Times to “sit in the corner of the courtroom” till the court adjourned with its proceedings for the day.
The bench further said, “In exercise of the power vested in us by Article 215 of the Constitution of India, we sentence both the contemnors to sit in the corner of the courtroom till the rising of the court and impose a fine of Rs. 2 lakh each which is to be deposited with the Registry within a week and then to be deposited in the welfare fund of this High Court.”