Profuse misuse of social media on subjudice matters cause of concern: Supreme Court [12.4.2024]

The Supreme Court has voiced concern over misuse of social media platforms with posting of messages, comments and articles on subjudice matters.

A bench of Justices Aniruddha Bose (now retired) and Bela Trivedi made the observation while initiating a contempt action against Assam MLA Karim Uddin Barbhuiya for his misleading Facebook post regarding a case reserved for judgment.

"It is a matter of serious concern that nowadays there has been a profuse misuse of social media platforms on which messages, comments, articles etc. are being posted in respect of matters pending in Court.

"Though our shoulders are broad enough to bear any blame or criticism, the comments or posts published in respect of matters pending in Court, through social media platforms under guise of right to freedom of speech and expression, which have the tendency of undermining the authority of the Courts or of interfering with the course of justice, deserves serious consideration," the bench said.

The top court said it is very usual for judges to react during the course of arguments being made by lawyers, sometimes in favour of and sometimes against a party to the proceeding.

"However, that does not give any right or leeway to either of the parties or their lawyers to the proceedings to post comments or messages on social media distorting the facts or not disclosing correct facts of the proceedings.

"The matter is required to be taken up more seriously when any such attempt is sought to be made by the party to the proceedings," the bench said while issuing contempt notice to the MLA and directing the presence of the MLA from All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) in the court.

The apex court listed the matter next after four weeks and asked the registry to place the matter before the CJI for appropriate orders on the administrative side for listing the case before the appropriate bench.

The SC initiated contempt proceedings against Barbhuiya for his Facebook post on March 20 in which he had falsely claimed a favourable ruling from the court in an election petition while the court had on that day only reserved its judgment in the matter.

Later on April 8, the apex court allowed Barbhuiya's plea and quashed the election petition filed against him.

12 Apr 2024