Top Court judges against unnecessary criticism on social media


NATIONAL | NOV 4, 2019:

The Chief Justice of India (CJI) and the CJI-designate have expressed their discontent with people using social media platforms to unleash unrestricted criticism of judges and democratic institutions which, on the apex court's directions, carried out the exercise to update the Assam National Register of Citizens (NRC).

At the launch event on Sunday here of the book "Post-Colonial Assam" by Mrinal Talukdar, Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi slammed people using social media for casting aspersions on the Assam NRC, and for having deliberately launched a motivated tirade against it.

"The social media and its tools have been used by many commentators to double speak on the issue. They launched a motivated tirade at a democratic institution. These commentators and their bile on the initiative (NRC) was far removed from the facts," he said.

The Chief Justice said the NRC left a mark on the social history of Assam, and pointed to the guesswork of certain sections on social media on illegal immigration.

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"Callous reporting by few media outlets worsened the situation…sinking into cynicism the working of an institution was severe by media and particularly social media", said thyen Chief Justice, noting that certain sections in media, particularly social media, deliberately looked for wrongs in the exercise, which led to the demeaning of institutions.

"Mudslinging and personal attack against the institution and its members", he said.

He stressed that people sinking into cynicism through social media have unleashed restrains on the working of the Assam NRC process.

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Earlier this week, Justice Bobde, who will assume charge as the 47th Chief Justice of India on November 18, after the serving Chief Justice Gogoi retires on November 17, said at a media interaction that social media criticism is tearing apart judges' reputations.

He also accepted that, at this point, the apex court is unable to do anything to address unbridled criticism on social media platforms.

Justice Bobde noted that, despite this criticism, many sections claim that there is no freedom of speech. Instead of the judge, the people should criticize the judgment, he added.