The social media posts which courted much controversy by falsely claiming that two sitting judges of the Supreme Court were in a photo along with some others, showcases the sheer misuse of the right to freedom of speech by uninformed persons, a Bengaluru Court recently observed. [Dipali Sikand v Jagadeesh Laxman Singh & Ors.].The observation was recorded in the John Doe order passed by the Court on Tuesday, directing social media platforms to take down a photograph which was widely circulated with the claim that two of the persons in it are Justices Surya Kant and JB Pardiwala of the Supreme Court..The Principal City Civil and Sessions Judge opined that the nature of the social media posts which reshared the photograph as well as the comments on the same are highly derogatory and defamatory."If the nature of the comments/posting are perused, they are highly derogatory and defamatory. Also, which is nothing but a sheer misuse of right of freedom and speech expression. The uninformed persons without knowing the repercussion on their baseless comments, went on passing such scarilizing (sic) comments. Now a days such a messages reaches to the mind of the public just like a wild fire, they believe before cross checking on the genuineness. Whoever involved in passing such comments are nothing but a irresponsible and loose minded, such an act requires to be regulated," the order stated. .The Court further observed that it was highly condemnable that persons with access to platforms which can spread messages like wild fire, were acting irresponsibly and sharing untrue facts about the two Supreme Court judges and the others in the photograph."There is nothing wrong to bring the true facts to the knowledge of the public. As the public has the every right to know what's going in their behind, but it is highly condemnable on the person who on the guise of communication placing something untrue facts, who are on the responsible position in society. Which is nothing but an attempt to damage the reputation of Hon'ble Justices and also the guests of the plaintiff, who are participated in the lunch, such an act is requires to be curtailed at the earliest", the Court said in its order..Considering the circumstances, the Court ordered Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and WhatsApp to take down all libellous and defamatory content against Dipali Sikand, the owner of club MindEscapes, where the photo was clicked with some guests.It also restrained the defendants from publishing any such libellous and defamatory content against the plaintiff, Sikand..The photograph in question was shot at MindEscapes, a club owned by Sikand situated in Tamil Nadu. At this venue, journalist and member of the Kasturi family that controls the Hindu Group of publications N Ram and his wife Mariam hosted a lunch for the following guests on July 1 this year:- Dr. Palanivel Thiagarajan, current Finance Minister of Tamil Nadu;- CPI(M) leader Prakash Karat;- CPI(M) leader Brinda Karat;- NDTV founder Prannoy Roy; and- NDTV founder Radhika Roy.The group picture was shared by Sikand on her private Facebook and Linkedin pages.In the wake of the statements made by Justices Kant and Pardiwala of the Supreme Court in the Nupur Sharma case, several individuals circulated the photograph wrongly identifying the guests as the two judges and made allegations against them of dining with “naxal groups” and “communists” etc.Sikand then approached the Court contending that such false and defamatory content has violated her rights as well as those of her guests, and that they have suffered irreparable injury to their reputation and goodwill."Shockingly, the posts on social media and WhatsApp claimed that two guests in the picture were Hon’ble Mr. Justice Surya Kant and Hon’ble Mr. Justice Pardiwala, who were hearing the Nupur Sharma petition. Similar posts are being made and forwarded by several individuals on WhatsApp groups as well," the suit said.Some responsible websites published a clarificatory story on the photograph and tried to point out that the individuals in the photograph are not the two judges of the Supreme Court, the suit stated.However, the fake and fallacious information has already spread far and wide, and these attempts to clarify the truth have not ebbed the flow, it was submitted."Several individuals are still posting about the photograph with false captions and defamatory statements about the plaintiff and its guests," Sikand stated in the suit.On these grounds, the suit sought the passing of a John Doe order (an order seeking injunction against unknown individuals). It also specifically arraigned three individuals who shared the photograph - Jagadeesh Laxman Singh, Siddharth Dey and Sonalika Kumar - as defendants..The Court saw from the material placed before it that the photograph had been shared with comments such as:“justices are with the naxal gang” “now you can analyze the remarks on Nupur Sharma" "the truth behind making such an obnoxious comment against Nupur Sharma is out there” “let me show you something. These people are liberals of India who mostly discuss poverty and unemployment in India. But the irony is that they are discussing it in a 7 star hotel with a scenic view and eating a $6000 meal”.It noted that the posts also given a caption as “Code Red" to suggesting that, “the team of people gathered there are dangerous or a threat”.Pertinently, it was noted that the original caption on the photo left no room for conjecture that two of the persons in the image were the two judges of the Supreme Court or that it was in anyway related to the remarks about Nupur Sharma. Therefore, the Court passed an ex-parte parte order as any further delay may cause even more damage to the reputations of those involved. The matter will be taken up next on August 18 for appearance of the defendants.