Zero tolerance to social media not obeying law

Parliament ruckus: More in the offing?
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Parliament ruckus: More in the offing? 

Highlights

At last, the government as well as judiciary have shown the guts to call a spade a spade. The new Union Law Minister and the Supreme Court of India have in the plain language told the so-called social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to either strictly abide by the country’s laws and rules governing them or to pack off their operations.

At last, the government as well as judiciary have shown the guts to call a spade a spade. The new Union Law Minister and the Supreme Court of India have in the plain language told the so-called social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to either strictly abide by the country's laws and rules governing them or to pack off their operations.

It may be noted that when these social media platforms crossed their limits and came out in open to defy the law of the land, the state apparatus was left with no other alternative but to tighten the noose. These foreign-based companies not only encouraged anti-India elements literally to wage a war against the country, but also defied softly worded directions of the Ministry of Information Technology in the name of freedom of expression. They chose to 'suspend' or 'remove' anybody's account at their whims and fancies and it was not just a coincidence that even this writer's account was 'blocked' by Twitter some three years ago. Even a legal notice sent to the Twitter has gone unanswered following which this writer too, reciprocated in the same manner and has not been even looking at any of the so-called social media platforms.

Many of us are wrongly under the impression that these international virtual platforms are just engaged in anti-government or anti-national propaganda. The fact of the matter is that they also spread canards, indulge in divisive tactics, give a leeway to extremists, terrorists and Jehadis and above all, tarnish the very social fabric of India, which is a typical blend of multi-languages, multi-cultures and multi-regions!

The present day scenario is indeed, akin to the Europeans visiting India a thousand years ago under the guise of traders and gradually establishing themselves as rulers. Now with the advancement of technology, only the modus operandi has changed, but the dirty design is intact. Happily, today's rulers are not naive as of yesteryears nor they have any axe to grind as was the case with recently-dethroned rulers!

Eternal vigilance is the price for democracy. In fact, it equally applies to all forms of governance, but more so in case of a democracy. That is why all the freedoms enumerated as fundamental rights in the Constitution of India come with a rider. The rider is that all the freedoms or fundamental rights are subject to the 'reasonable restrictions'. In other words, the length of the rope decides the extent of freedom of your pet. Whether, a citizen likes it or not, but this is a fact. In monarchy, the length of the rope is determined by the king while in military-ruled countries, it is the top brass in the junta which calls the shots. Similarly, in case of a democracy, like ours, it is the elected government that decides as to what are 'reasonable restrictions'. If somebody does not agree, he is free to knock on the doors of the court.

In other words, the behaviour or social and political commitment of people by large, will be the motive power behind determining the 'length of the rope' by the government of the day. And as a rule, since the voice of majority is heard effectively by the people in power, per se there is nothing wrong in the social media platforms promoting and supporting the dissenting voices. However, their freedom is not unbridled and it can never be misused to the detriment the national interests. The larger Bench of the apex court comprising Justices SK Kaul, Dinesh Maheshwari and Hrishikesh Roy, while dealing with the controversy on July 8 over the Delhi Assembly Committee summoning Facebook vice-president for the alleged spreading of hate messages during Delhi riots has rightly observed, "Entities like Facebook have to remain accountable to those who entrust them with such power."

India's new Law Minister

One of the blue-eyed boys of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Kiren Rijiju, has been appointed as the new Union Minister for Law and Justice. In the recently rejigged cabinet, Rijiju stepped into the shoes of BJP stalwart Ravi Shankar Prasad, who resigned from the government.

The new incumbent faces an uphill task ahead, including the passing of the Uniform Civil Code in the Parliament and pacifying different spectrums of society on many other contentious issues such as CAA, NRC and farm laws.

A law graduate from the University of Delhi, Rijiju is considered to be very close to the Prime Minister which fact alone speaks volumes for his very important new assignment.

BAI expresses concern over BCI rules

Country's pioneer body of legal fraternity, the Bar Association of India (BAI), has strongly condemned the orders/resolutions of the Bar Council of India (BCI) and the State bar councils amending Section V-A (I) (ii) of the rules, which according to the BAI amounts to an attempt to usurp the power of contempt of court by the BCI and its state organs from the courts. In an unanimous resolution adopted by the Executive Committee of BAI in its meeting held on June 30, the lawyer's premier body founded by the legal luminaries like MC Setalvad, CK Daftari and KM Munshi took serious objection to the new amendment introduced by the statutory regulatory body of legal profession i.e. BCI restraining the advocates from criticising judiciary or BCI. The BAI held that this is nothing but an attempt by the BCI to throttle the freedom of expression of lawyers.

All lawyers are equal: Kerala HC

Applying the principle of equality, the Kerala High Court on July 7 directed all government pleaders to remove their designations from the number plates of their vehicles. This direction came in the wake of the court's earlier directions to the effect that law officers of Central government should not display the name of the court in the name-boards of their vehicles or exhibit their designations in the number plates. Terming it as the violation of rules framed under the Motor Vehicles Act, Justice Anil K Narendran observed that law was applicable to all the courts. He rejected the government's plea for the extension of time to submit an action taken report to the court. True, when the country had already got rid of the colonial red-light culture, where is the question of allowing the law officers of governments to have the privilege of exhibiting their designation on the number-plates of their vehicles?

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