The Delhi High Court recently expressed deep anguish over the manner in which posts were being circulated on social media without any "sense of responsibility" and authenticity of its source.
The Court was hearing Petitions filed by twenty three students who had alleged that they were shown to have passed Group I/II of CA Final Examination by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) in the communications sent to its branches and regional council, while the results uploaded on the ICAI's website showed that they had actually failed.
The students had now approached the Court alleging that the results had been altered after de-codification, leading to the confusion. They had also relied on a press release, wherein the ICAI had allegedly accepted that some mismatch had occurred in the lists communicated to its branches, due to which the internal communication was different from the results uploaded on its website.
However, while annexing copies of screenshots of the Email communication, the Petitioners admitted that they were not sure about the authenticity of the e-mail as it was posted on Facebook.
The Respondents had, on the other hand, inter alia challenged the Petitioners' reliance on such posts, and had denied any subsequent change in the results.
Having examined the contentions raised by both parties, Justice Rekha Palli agreed with the Respondents and observed, "It is however, interesting to note that even though the entire case of the petitioners is based on the said alleged notification, in which they claimed to have passed, the petitioners have very conveniently and for obvious reasons stated in the petition itself that they were not sure about the authenticity and correctness of the e-mails or of the messages being circulated on the Whatsapp and Facebook...
... It may be pertinent to note that even the learned counsel for the petitioners is unable to demonstrate the manner in which the said alleged notification was published except for reiterating that the same circulated on Whatsapp/ Facebook... In view of the categoric stand of the Respondent-Institute that only one result was published and that too on the three websites of the Institute, it is evident that there has been no change of any kind in the result published by the institute."
Thereafter, before parting with the judgment, Justice Palli said that she was pained by such reckless circulation of posts on social media, observing, "Before I conclude, I must express my anguish at the manner in which the Whatsapp and Facebook posts are being circulated without any sense of responsibility. No doubt, the hopes of some students have been shattered, but unfortunately for them while the Court can only express its concern over the manner in which communications are circulated on Whatsapp/ Facebook without any authenticity of the source thereof, the legal position does not in any manner support the petitioners."