The growth of communication technology has made human existence easier.
Previously, the means of communication offered were time-consuming and
inefficient. With the growth of technology in today's society, communication has
become a relatively simple and quick procedure. Because the internet has made
access to anybody and everything so accessible, the whole globe has been reduced
to the size of a tiny hamlet. One such medium for connecting individuals is
The phrase social media refers to computer-based technology that
allows people to share ideas, opinions, and information through numerous virtual
platforms. Social media is internet-based and allows users to quickly exchange
material such as personal information, documents, movies, and images. As of
October 2021, more than 4.5 billion people utilise social media. Social media
has changed the way society thinks. It has become a platform for the spread of
both truth and falsehoods. When the social media justice system affects
everything, judges are no exception.
As the third organ of government, the judiciary must be free of any influence
from the other two organs of government or the public in general. The phrase is
normative in the sense that it specifies what courts and judges should have. The
independence of the court is critical in order to protect the general population
from unfair treatment.
The notion of judicial independence originated with
England's Act of Settlement. Because of the variety of its people, the
judiciary's independence is critical in a nation like India.
Provisions in the
judiciary to ensure the independence of the judiciary:
- Security of tenure. (Art.124(2))
- Salary and allowances.
- Power to punish for its contempt. (Art.129 in Supreme Court, Art.215 in
- Separation of judiciary from the executive. (Article 50)
- No practice after retirement.
With enormous judicial powers come significant obligations for the judges. The
Indian judiciary established numerous principles during the Chief Justices'
Conference in 1999, which were endorsed by all High Courts. Not only must
justice be done, but it must also be perceived to be done. Working members of
the higher court must maintain and renew the public's trust in the judiciary's
Keeping this in mind, every Judge of the Supreme Court or a High
Court, whether in an official or personal role, must avoid eroding the
confidence of the Indian legal system. A Judge shall not allow any member of his
immediate family, if a member of the Bar, to appear before him or be involved in
any way with a case before him.
No member of his family who is a member of the Bar should occupy the same house
with him or utilise any other professional facilities offered to judges. A Judge
must avoid hearing and ruling on a case involving a member of his family, a
close relative, or a friend. A Judge must use extreme caution while engaging in
public discussion or expressing his opinions in public on political issues or
issues that are ongoing or are likely to come for judicial resolution.
avoid circumstances in which he is required to conduct media interviews. A Judge
may only receive gifts or hospitality from his family, close relatives, and
friends. A Judge should not participate in commerce or business, either directly
or indirectly (publication of a legal opinion or other activity in the nature of
a hobby should not be considered as trade or business).
A Judge is not permitted to make donations to or raise funds for any reason. A
Judge should not seek any additional pecuniary gain as a result of his position
unless it is obviously attainable. Any uncertainty must be addressed and
explained by the Chief Justice. Every Judge must bear in mind that they are
constantly exposed to public scrutiny; as a consequence, they must behave or
omit in a way that does not depreciate the reputation associated with the
The Bangalore ideas of Judicial behaviour, 2002, put forth the ideas
intended to create standards for judges' ethical behaviour. These standards
provide instruction to judges and control judicial behaviour. The principles'
major goal is to help members of the other two branches of government, as well
as the general public, support India's judicial system.
Social media has evolved into a platform that disseminates topics that may
assist them get TRP rather than facts. Prolonged debates and discussions are
undertaken that are purely speculative, endangering the rights of witnesses and
the accused. The freedom of speech and expression guaranteed by Article 19(1)(a)
has been repeatedly abused. In India, criminal jurisprudence is founded on the
notion that an accused cannot be declared guilty unless his guilt is established
in a court of law. Social media spreads opinions about both the victims and the
accused that may or may not be factual.
The media ignores the "Guilty beyond reasonable doubt" and "Innocent until
proven guilty" principles that govern Indian courts. It places a burden on trial
courts, who are responsible for mitigating the impact of prejudiced publicity.
Continuous comments from such social media platforms may compel courts to rule
in favour of the media rather than what is truly required in the case.
In the Nupur Sharma case, the bench of Justice Surya Kant and Justice Pardiwala made
oral statements during the hearing of the writ petition that led to several
personal assaults on the judges. The general public does not always grasp the
questions posed in the courts in order to complete the requirements of the law.
The media can only distribute the judges' remarks without understanding the
settings in which they are used, which has an influence on the judges' private
Impact on Social Media
Judges are regular citizens of the nation, and they, like any other citizen, are
free to use social media, but they must keep in mind that their active
engagement requires careful thinking. Judges must adhere to legal and ethical
repercussions while keeping the nature of their vocation in mind.
element of social media is that it fosters connection and transparency in
society; yet, any postings made by judges are prone to distortion or
misunderstanding of the material posted by them, and have even resulted in cyberbullying and threats to privacy and safety. The International Bar
Association Legal Policy and Research Unit (IBA LPRU) undertook a worldwide
study in 2011 to assess the influence of Online Social Networking (OSN) on the
The poll to assess the effect of OSN on the legal profession indicated that
judge usage of social media generated special concerns, with 40% claiming that
judges' use of OSN harmed public trust in the justice system and compromised
judicial independence. People have access to the words of judges, but the
majority of them lack legal education and fail to grasp the true meaning
underlying the reasons supplied by courts. Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar
Prasad has shown support for judicial use of social media.
He believes that social media platforms should be used to share ideas, opinions,
and information. Judges must be granted entire freedom to make decisions while
adhering to the rule of law. In India, media trials have grown
widespread. People have already pronounced judgement on an issue about which
they have no knowledge before a case is adjudicated in a court of law. Judges
must be mindful of how they present themselves on social media.
They are not
permitted to make any remarks on the matter they are hearing in court. The
International Bar Association's Legal Policy and Research Unit (LPRU) issued its
International Principles on Social Media Conduct for the Legal Profession in
2014. This study discusses the benefits and drawbacks of using social media, as
well as advice on judicial behavior's and ethics.
There is a need to restrict the disclosure of court procedures because persons
who do not understand the law forget that there is no room for feelings in the
law. Judgements are made with all legal considerations in mind, and there are
very little possibilities that the judgement will be biased. In a democracy,
criticizing any decision on legal grounds is permitted, but criticizing judges
and making personal comments constitutes defamation.
Judges must remain deaf to
any criticism in order to uphold their oath of loyalty to the Indian
Constitution and the dignity of the position they occupy. It was noted in the
Global Programmed for the Implementation of the Doha Declaration that education,
training, and advice on how social media might affect its users are needed to
bridge the gap between reasonable comments on any judgement and personal attacks
The judiciary is the entity in charge of enforcing the law. It has the ability
to offer victims with justice. It is critical that the court has no undue
influence on anybody in order for it to work properly. Its correct operation is
critical for societal cohesion. Judges are social workers, and whatever decision
they make is based on the rules set by law and after careful consideration.
Their decisions must not be used to personally attack them, since this is
against the law.
- www.investopedia.com � terms � s "Social Media: Definition, Effects, and List of Top Apps" -�Accessed on 13 September, 2022
- Data Reportal. "Global Social Media Stats October 2021" Accessed on 13 September, 2022
- www.royal.uk � act-settlement-0The Act of Settlement | The Royal Family
- www.barandbench.com � columns � social-media-and-the Social Media and the Judiciary � Bar and Bench
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