The Supreme Court Friday stayed the Meghalaya High Court’s contempt order against the editor and publisher of Shillong Times, PTI reported.
The 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.
Earlier this month, the Meghalaya High Court held the editor and publisher of the prominent newspaper of the Northeast guilty of contempt of court, imposed a fine of Rs 2 lakh each, and ruled that in case of non-payment of the penalty in a week, the two will be imprisoned for six months and the paper “banned”.
The contempt order — against editor Patricia Mukhim and publisher Shobha Chaudhuri — came regarding two reports published in The Shillong Times, on December 6 and 10 last year, about a court order seeking better facilities for retired judges and their families.
The Shillong Times, first published in 1945, is said to be the region’s one of the oldest English-language newspaper.
The Editor’s Guild had also condemned the High Court’s order, calling it “intimidatory”. The Guild said the court’s order, “which among other things imposes a fine along with a threat of imprisonment and a ban on the publication, is intimidatory and undermines press freedom”.
It is “ironical”, it said, that the judiciary “which should uphold press freedom has instead issued an order that militates against freedom of expression” and urged the judiciary “to exercise its constitutional powers with utmost caution so that the role of a free media in a democracy is duly respected”.