New Delhi, October 6: Alleged statement of former SCBA President and senior advocate Dushyant Dave that many judges are "pro-government" was disapproved by the Supreme Court. Dave also asserted that the top court also takes the government to task.
A bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra was anguished over the statement given to a news channel, besides also expressing concern over the growing trend of posting uncharitable comments, trolls and aggressive reactions on social media platforms on every issue, including judges and judicial proceedings.
"They should sit in the Supreme Court to see how the government is hauled up," a bench, which also comprised Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud, observed.
"Some member from the Bar commented that the Supreme Court is dominated by pro-government judges. They should come and sit in the Supreme Court to see how the government is hauled up in favour of citizens' rights," the bench said without naming Dave.
The apex court also agreed to the suggestions mooted by senior advocates Fali S Nariman and Harish Salve that such incidents on social media needed to be regulated.
The concern of the bench found strong support from the two eminent lawyers, who are assisting the apex court in a matter relating to the comment made by former UP Minister Azam Khan in a highway gangrape case.
"I have deleted my Twitter account. It was so abusive," Salve said, adding that once when he was appearing in a case relating to a Christian medical college and the subsequent occurences on his Twitter handle forced him to delete it.
"I have stopped looking at them," Nariman said, adding that unwarranted comments about almost everything can be found on these platforms.
The bench then said that one of the observations made during the hearing on the Rohingya matter was projected as if an order has been delivered and it became a subject matter of debate.
Anything that disrupts free exchange of views between the judges and the arguing lawyers needs to be curbed, Salve said.
The bench also said that there was misuse of social media platforms and people disseminated wrong information even about the court proceedings.
"Earlier the right to privacy could have been infringed by the State only. Now such things emanate from private parties also," the bench said.
Pointing out that a newspaper or a media organisation which gets an audio clip, publishes it without taking any responsibility for its authenticity, Salve asked: "does it not amount to infringement of privacy".
The concept of "my house is my castle" is fast fading due to the intrusion of private players, the bench said.
Nariman then said the Indian civil laws were "defective" and unable to handle such incidents.
"There is an urgent need to have some kind of regulation," Salve said. The bench agreed to the suggestion.
Questions like whether a public functionary or a minister can claim freedom of speech while airing views in a sensitive matter which is under investigation referred to a constitution bench by the top court.