Justice Sc who heard Nupur Sharma’s pleas for mandatory social media regulation

Digital and social media must be mandatorily regulated in the country to preserve the rule of law under the Constitution, Supreme Court Justice JB Pardiwala said on Sunday.

Judge Pardiwala’s remarks at an event in New Delhi come amid an outcry from a section over strong oral submissions by a holiday bench, of which he was a member, against suspended BJP leader Nupur Sharma , for his controversial comments against the Prophet Muhammad. The Supreme Court had said her “cowardly tongue” had “set the whole country on fire” and that she should apologize.

The comments from the bench, which had also refused to bludgeon FIRs filed against Sharma across the country, sparked debate, including on digital and social media platforms, also leading to uncharitable comments against the judges. “In India, which cannot be called a mature and informed democracy, social and digital media are frequently used to politicize purely legal and constitutional issues,” said Justice Pardiwala and gave the case illustration of the dispute. Ayodhya land.

He said trials by digital media are an undue interference in the justice delivery system. “Going through this Lakshman rekha repeatedly is especially more worrying,” said the judge, who was recently elevated to the highest court. Justice Pardiwala was speaking at the second National Justice HR Khanna Memorial Symposium organized by Dr. Ram Manohar Lohiya National Law University, Lucknow & National Law University, Odisha with the Confederation of Alumni of National Law Universities (CAN Foundation).

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“Digital and social media must be mandatorily regulated in the country to preserve the rule of law under our Constitution…Attempted attacks on our judges for judgments will lead to a dangerous scenario where judges will have to give greater pay attention to what the media thinks rather than what the law actually requires. This puts the rule of law on the back burner, ignoring the sanctity of respecting the courts,” he said.

Speaking on Vox Populi v Rule of Law: Supreme Court of India, Justice Pardiwala said that court verdicts cannot reflect the influence of public opinion. Observing that the rule of law must prevail over popular public sentiment, the supreme court judge said that balancing the intention of the majority population on the one hand and meeting their demand and affirming the rule of law on the the other hand is an arduous exercise.

“It takes extreme forensic skill to walk a tightrope between the two, that’s where people think log kya kahenge, log kya sochenge” (What will people say, what will people think) is a riddle that haunts every judge every time they have to write a judgement,” he said. Speaking on digital and social media, he said these sections only have half the truth and are beginning to scrutinize the legal process.

They are also unaware of the concept of judicial discipline, binding precedents and inherent limits on judicial discretion, he said. “This part of the population, the well-informed half-truth, is the real challenge to the dispensation of justice through the rule of law,” he added.

“Social and digital media today are mainly used to express personalized opinions more against judges per se rather than a constructive critical assessment of their judgments. This is what harms judicial institutions and lowers that dignity,” he said. he declared.

Justice Pardiwala said constitutional courts have always graciously accepted informed dissent and constructive criticism and that the legal ethos has always prohibited personalized and agenda-driven attacks on judges.

He said judges should not participate in social media discussions because “judges never speak through their language, only their judgements.” He concluded his address by stating that “the judiciary cannot exist independently of society, but the rule of law is insurmountable”. .

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