Kerala High Court: Social media has given productive ground for self-appointed crusaders without reason Despite summons, former judicial officer S Sudeep failed to appear before the Court, despite the fact that he complained about the Court and the judge on his Facebook page. The Kerala High Court judgment on Thursday expressed concern that social media was allowing the rise...
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Kerala High Court: Social media has given productive ground for self-appointed crusaders without reason
Despite summons, former judicial officer S Sudeep failed to appear before the Court, despite the fact that he complained about the Court and the judge on his Facebook page.
The Kerala High Court judgment on Thursday expressed concern that social media was allowing the rise of 'self-appointed crusaders' who used their anonymity to post unprovoked and malicious posts on the internet.
Judge Devan Ramachandran made these observations following the failure of former judicial officer S Sudeep to appear before the Court despite being summoned to do so over a Facebook post that disparaged the Court and the judge.
In its decision, the Court lamented the rampant misuse of social media, an extremely powerful tool that has been sullied by few.
I think it's tragic that busybodies feel free to vitriolic ally comment on anything on social media, having the idea that they will not be held accountable. In the right hands- social media can be a good thing. For others, however, it's a playground for their vilest desires. Despite the "self-appointed crusaders" with no justification, the world cannot exist without all kinds of people. "One only has the option of letting them get away with their mischief while waiting for the long arm of the law to arrive," the Court stated in its order.
The Court noted that free speech is certainly a cornerstone of the internet, but a few unbridled individuals are forcing even the most rational of individuals to hope that the law is capable of regulating media online.
"Internet freedom is a very important aspect of the internet and I am a strong advocate in favour of it. The power of expression is a very valuable aspect of human existence, but some - such as the individual pictured here - push it too far and become so emboldened by cyber "friends" who spur him on while not knowing the consequences he will ultimately suffer. Even right thinking individuals would be compelled to seek regulation of online spaces in these circumstances," the Court explained.
According to a copy of the Facebook post the former judicial officer posted on December 17, the Court had received derisive remarks from the ex-judicial officer while it was hearing the case about a fake antique scam in which notorious conman Monson Mavunkal was the prime suspect.
After Justice Ramachandran issued the order dated December 4, 2021, in which the State Police Chief was pulled up, the Court noted that the post was disrespectful towards the Court and had even made personal attacks against the judge.
"I don't care about the judges. This man can abuse, disrespect, and criticize me, but I sit in an office chair that is capable of bearing all of this. In stepping in, the Court had said, "he may write whatever he likes, but if he gets involved in an ongoing investigation, as I had gotten the impression, then I am required to intervene ".
Hence, the Court instructed the registry to assess the veracity of the post and issue notice to enforce personal appearance immediately, if found to be authentic.
The report submitted by the High Court Registry, however, indicated that he immediately responded online, again ridiculing the court and calling it fascist, "all because this court wanted to hear him and verify if there was anything to what he posted online"
The registry also informed the judge that the man had written messages indicating his intention to harm himself.
As the registry informs me, he is now comparing himself to Stan Swamy and Judge Loya, and threatening the Court, he will take action if nothing is done. This man must not be in his right mind", the judge mused, shaking his head.
For not responding to the summons and appearing personally before the Court, the Court ridiculed the man.
Therefore, the scenario is clear, the individual's mind set is nihilistic, and I close this hearing to him because I recognize that he has nothing of value to contribute," the ruling stated.
TA Shaji, the director-general of prosecution, once again urged the Court to indict him for contempt but the Court refused to do so.
"He appears to be looking for publicity as if he is the victim of some oppression. He is waiting for the police to make a scene. "He is hallucinating. He is dissatisfied that he could not create a scene. He wanted 15 minutes of fame by taking the High Court on a ride. I will not initiate contempt proceedings against him, he is not worth it. He will not receive that publicity from this court," the Court concluded.
Instead, the Court stated, "the man in question seeks relevance by making wanton remarks, and the greatest punishment I can administer to him is to dismiss his statements as irrelevant and deny him the "15 minutes of fame" he sought on this court."
In light of this, the court dismissed the summons and directed the Registry to perform the duties of these posts in accordance with law after obtaining the necessary orders from Chief Justice S Manikumar.
The former judicial officer's controversial social media posts are not the first time he has run into trouble.
In response to his criticism of judgments rendered by the Kerala High Court, including one by Justice Ramachandran, the High Court conducted a disciplinary inquiry.
Announcing his resignation via Facebook, S Manikumar, Chief Justice of the Kerala High Court, received his resignation in July 2021.