15 Dec 2021 3:32 PM GMT
Dealing with the suo moto case regarding social media posts against Judges, the Andhra Pradesh High Court on Monday sought a fresh status report of the investigation from the Central Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on the lines of their own proposal submitted before the Court as to how the agency intends to probe the case.The Bench of Chief Justice Prashant Kumar Mishra and Justice...
Dealing with the suo moto case regarding social media posts against Judges, the Andhra Pradesh High Court on Monday sought a fresh status report of the investigation from the Central Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on the lines of their own proposal submitted before the Court as to how the agency intends to probe the case.
The Bench of Chief Justice Prashant Kumar Mishra and Justice M. Satyanarayana Murthy ordered thus as it took into account the respective submissions of the counsels appearing for the parties, especially, the CBI, the High Court, and the Social Media Intermediaries.
It may be noted that on October 29, 2021, the Court had expressed its displeasure with the way CBI was probing into the matter. The Court had said that in spite of orders passed by this Court on a number of occasions, neither there is development in the investigation nor efforts are made to remove the abusive content.
Further, stressing that attention from top-level is warranted, the Court had called for an affidavit from the Director, CBI as to what has transpired from December 2020, what are the efforts made by CBI, and the future course of actions.
Importantly, the Court had even observed that 'judge bashing has become a favorite pastime for some people', and it had further directed Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube to take down abusive content against judges.
In pursuant to that order, the CBI filed an affidavit on Monday (December 13) in a sealed cover. However, when the counsel for the petitioner was permitted to peruse the affidavit, he submitted that it contained only such information, which is otherwise available in the public domain.
He would further submit that the details of the steps taken by the C.B.I. to book the culprits and take the investigation to a logical end are lacking in the affidavit.
In response to this, the Additional Solicitor General of India submitted that the intermediaries are not cooperating with the investigation in most of the cases inasmuch as they are not responding to the notices sent to them by the C.B.I. seeking basic subscriber information.
On the other hand, strictly refuting the statement made by the Additional Solicitor General of India, Mr. Mukul Rohatgi, the senior counsel, and Sajan Poovayya, senior counsel submitted that the intermediaries are assisting the investigating agency in all possible manner and they have no intention to shield any of the accused by not providing any information to the C.B.I.
Lastly, it was further submitted by them that as and when notices are sent to the intermediaries, they shall promptly provide all the information to the C.B.I.
In view of this, the Court asked the C.B.I to file a fresh status report of the investigation in the lines of their own proposal contained in their affidavit as to how do they intend to probe the case (details of the proposal available in the order attached below and here).
With this, the Court has now posted the matter for further hearing on January 25, 2021.
The background of the Case
It may be noted that last year, a division bench of Chief Justice Prashant Kumar Mishra and Justice Lalitha Kanneganti had issued suo moto contempt notices to 49 persons, including a Member of Parliament and a former Member of Legislative Assembly, observing that they made intimidating and abusive social media posts against judges.
Therefore, the High Court had transferred the probe in the matter to CBI and had directed it to investigate the derogatory social media posts against judges.
Click here to read/download the order