Judiciary shouldn't be swayed by social media: CJI

Extremely vital for judiciary to withstand external pressure from social media, says CJI

Media trials and social media trends cannot be a guiding factor in deciding cases, he said

CJI N V Ramana. Credit: PTI File Photo

Chief Justice of India N V Ramana on Wednesday said judiciary cannot be controlled, directly or indirectly, by the legislature or the executive, and judges should not be swayed by the emotional pitch of public opinion either, getting amplified through social media platforms.

He maintained that though judges cannot stay in "ivory castles", media trials and social media trends cannot be a guiding factor in deciding cases.

"For the judiciary to apply checks on governmental power and action, it has to have complete freedom. The judiciary cannot be controlled, directly or indirectly, by the legislature or the executive, or else the Rule of Law would become illusory," he said.

Speaking at the 17th Justice P D Desai memorial lecture on 'Rule of Law', Justice Ramana said it is extremely vital to function independently and withstand all external aids and pressures for the judiciary.

"While there is a lot discussion about the pressure from the executive, it is also imperative to start a discourse as to how social media trends can affect the institutions," he said.

He stressed judges have to be mindful of the fact that the noise, amplified through social media is not necessarily reflective of what is right and what majority believes in.

"The new media tools that have enormous amplifying ability are incapable of distinguishing between right and wrong, good and bad and the real and fake," he said.

He, however, clarified that he did not mean judges and the judiciary need to completely disassociate from what is going on as Judges cannot stay in “ivory castles” and decide questions which pertain to social issues.

The ultimate responsibility of a judge is, after all, to uphold the Constitution and the laws with values of reason, reasonableness and protection of human dignity, he added.

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