23 July 2022 7:35 AM GMT
Chief Justice of India NV Ramana expressed concerns about the "concerted campaigns" in media, particularly social media, against judges and "ill-informed and agenda driven debates" media on issues related to cases before Courts.Speaking at a public lecture at the National University of Study & Research in Law, Ranchi, the CJI urged the media, particularly the electronic and social media,...
Chief Justice of India NV Ramana expressed concerns about the "concerted campaigns" in media, particularly social media, against judges and "ill-informed and agenda driven debates" media on issues related to cases before Courts.
Speaking at a public lecture at the National University of Study & Research in Law, Ranchi, the CJI urged the media, particularly the electronic and social media, to behave responsibly and cautioned that the media will be inviting interference from the courts or the government, if they overstep their limits.
It is significant to note that the CJI's comments echo the concerns expressed recently by another Supreme Court judge Justice JB Pardiwala, who was a target of social media attack following the decision in the Nupur Sharma case.
"Social and digital media is primarily resorted to expressing personalised opinions more against the judges, rather than a constructive critical appraisal of their judgments. This is what is harming the judicial institution and lowering its dignity", Justice Pardiwala had commented at a public event two weeks back. On this note, Justice Pardiwala had called for Parliamentary intervention to regulate social and digital media.
The CJI also voiced similar views today. He said that the print media still has certain degree of accountability but the electronic media has zero accountability. It is best for the media to "self-regulate" and "measure their words", than invite interference from courts and government, he cautioned.
These are the exact words of the CJI :
"Doing justice is not an easy responsibility. It is becoming increasingly challenging with each passing day. At times, there are also concerted campaigns in media, particularly on social media against judges. Another aspect which affects the fair functioning and independence of judiciary is the rising number of media trials. New media tools have enormous amplifying ability but appear to be incapable of distinguishing between the right and the wrong, the good and the bad and the real and the fake. Media trials cannot be a guiding factor in deciding cases.
Of late, we see the media running kangaroo courts, at times on issues even experienced judges find difficult to decide. Ill-informed and agenda driven debates on issues involving justice delivery are proving to be detrimental to the health of democracy. Biased views being propagated by media are affecting the people, weakening democracy, and harming the system. In this process, justice delivery gets adversely affected. By overstepping and breaching your responsibility, you are taking our democracy two steps backwards.
Print media still has certain degree of accountability. Whereas, electronic media has zero accountability as what it shows vanishes into thin year. Still worse is social media.
Owing to the frequent transgressions and consequent social unrests, there is a growing demand for stricter media regulations and accountability. In fact, looking at recent trends, it is best for the media to self-regulate and measure their words. You should not overstep and invite interference, either from the government or from the courts. Judges may not react immediately. Please don't mistake it to be a weakness or helplessness. When liberties are exercised responsibly, within their domains, there will be no necessity of placing reasonable or proportionate external restrictions.
I urge upon the media, particularly the electronic and social media, to behave responsibly. You are as important a stakeholder as we are. Please use the power of your voice to educate the people and to energize the nation in our collective endeavor to build a progressive, prosperous, and peaceful India".