A division bench of the Manipur High Court comprising Justice Lanusungkum Jamir and Justice Kh Nobin on Monday directed Th Brinda of the Manipur Police Service to appear before the court in person on June 10 at 10.30 am.
The court further directed SP Cyber Crime to collect and verify the details of those persons who have extended support to Th Brinda’s posts on Facebook and submit the details within a week from Monday to be impleaded as party respondents.
The instant contempt case was taken up for motion, following the submission of Special Judge, ND&PS with the allegation against Th Brinda that she entered the court room with a prayer for cross examining the witness. When it was denied, she is alleged to have threatened the witness and when the order was being passed by the court granting interim bail on medical ground, she allegedly gesticulated at the judge in the “most derogatory manner”. This followed the granting of interim bail by the special judge to Lhukhosei Zou, an alleged “drug kingpin” on medical ground, on May 21. Thereafter, Th Brinda subsequently uploaded various post on her Facebook account that were considered “highly contemptuous”.
Advocate General (AG) N Kumarjit assisted by P Tamphamani, counsel before the court through video conferencing submitted that the social media is not an appropriate forum where the validity and gravity of an order can be question by an aggrieved person. The AG argued that if a person is aggrieved by an order passed by the court, then it is open to him or her to approach the appellate forum for redressal of his or her grievance.
Similarly, if a person is aggrieved by the counsel of a subordinate judge, while maintaining the decorum of the court and administration of justice, it is open to approach the High Court with a complaint so that the same can be considered by High Court in administrative side, the AG submitted. Moreover, it was also argued that a police officer of state government cannot be called “an aggrieved person” and all that she could have done was to appraise the state government about the order.
The court after perusal found prima facie view that the manner and conduct of Th Brinda interfering with proceeding of the court and her subsequent uploading of various social media posts, are highly contemptuous, because of which criminal proceeding is being initiated against her.
It may be mentioned that the High Court on order notified to the general public that no person should publish anything or do any other act which may tantamount to Criminal Contempt, within its meaning as defined in section 2 of Contempt of Court Act, 1971 and if anyone is found to have done so, a criminal proceeding is required to be initiated against such person as well.