Justice Muralidhar takes cognizance of speculative tweets by S Gurumurthy [Read Order]

Justice Muralidhar takes cognizance of speculative tweets by S Gurumurthy [Read Order]

Ashutosh Gambhir

The Delhi High Court yesterday took suo motu cognizance of certain tweets by Chartered Accountant and political commentator S Gurumurthy relating to the decision of the Court to grant interim relief to Karti Chidambaram.

The Division Bench of Justices S Muralidhar and IS Mehta, on March 9, had restrained the ED from taking any coercive steps against Karti Chidambaram in relation to the INX media case, until the next date of hearing.

Gurumurthy, who is the editor of the magazine ‘Thuglak’, through his tweets had asked whether Justice Muralidhar had been a junior to Karti Chidambaram’s father and Senior Advocate P Chidambaram.

The Bench of Justices Muralidhar and Mehta subsequently called the filing counsel in the case and stated that they would like to discuss the issue of these tweets, after the matter was brought to its notice by some judges of Tamil Nadu. The Bench observed that,

“Within a few hours of the order in the present writ petition on 9th March 2018, a twitter handle @sgurumurthy tweeted the following mischievous poser that read: “Is it true that Justice Muralidhar who decided the Karthi petition today was a junior under PC?”

ASG Tushar Mehta appearing for the ED, submitted that content posted on social media should be ignored as people post all kinds of things, even against judges. He further stated that if the Court starts taking cognizance of every offensive post on social media, then its functioning would get hampered.

Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal, who is the counsel for Karti Chidambaram, stated that such an incident was unfortunate and added that politicians and public figures have to face filthy language and threats on social media.

Justice Muralidhar, while agreeing with Mehta’s submission that such tweets are ‘best ignored’, observed that misinformation on social media spreads like wildfire and considered it necessary to place on record the correct facts. The Bench also took note of Gurumurthy’s substantial following on twitter. The Court observed,

“Being the editor of a magazine that has a wide readership in Tamil Nadu, had Mr. S. Gurumurthy cared to check, he could easily have ascertained that the presiding Judge of this Bench was as a junior of Mr. G. Ramswamy, who then was the Additional Solicitor General of India and who later was the Attorney General for India.

At no time did the presiding Judge work as a junior to Mr. P. Chidambaram, Senior Advocate, the father of the Petitioner. It is unfortunate that despite some of the tweets in response clarifying the correct factual position, Mr. Gurumurthy chose not to withdraw his mischievous and false tweet.”

The Court, however, did not initiate contempt proceedings against Gurumurthy, but asked the Centre as to whether such posts can scandalize the legal profession and whether any remedial action needed to be taken. The Court observed,

“While a fair and informed critique of judgments and orders of the Courts is welcome, it is for the learned ASG and the Bar to consider whether such tweets call for action in accordance with law.”

Gurumurthy has since deleted the tweet in question.

Image taken from here.

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