‘Don’t Criticise Judiciary, State’: Kerala HC on Social Media Use
The Kerala High Court introduced a code of conduct dated 30 March to regulate the staff’s social media use.
The Kerala High Court has introduced a code of conduct dated 30 March 2021 for the purpose of regulating the HC’s staff, officers, and district judiciary’s involvement and intervention in public platforms, including social media.
One of the key pointers inscribed in the HC’s notification is a restriction on “criticising case laws and judgments of the courts, judges or the judicial system to scandalise them in social media”.
Issued by Registrar General Sophy Thomas, the memorandum makes it clear that appropriate action will be taken against the violators of the code of conduct.
Approved by the administrative committee of the Kerala HC, which met on 22 March, the code of conduct also states that all officers and members of staff of the HC should not use social media for “making offensive, irresponsible or defamatory statements criticising policies and actions of the government and its institutions, ministers, officials, heads of departments, judges, political leaders and social activists”.
The HC and District Judiciary members have also been directed to declare the email address and social media accounts maintained by them, and have been asked to refrain from using any fake accounts or addresses.
As per the memorandum, a Monitoring Cell will be in place for the purpose of reporting on social media misuse on computers and gadgets supplied in the office.
It also states that the staff members of the HC and the District Judiciary should be “very careful” in expressing or propagating any opinion on social media that may offend any cultural, ethnic, social or religious group.
Furthermore, the Office Memorandum also prohibits the addressees from:
- Making derogatory or insulting remarks, comments pertaining to any person, group of persons either official, socio-cultural or political on social media.
- Publishing any proceedings, official actions, records, or data from the office files in social media or publishing blogs on any matters in social media without prior permission of the HC.
- Indulging in the use of internet other than for official purposes and accessing prohibited sites during working hours, or carrying out an exchange of communication pertaining to personal matters on official sites.
- Indulging in any use of social media, which causes depletion of work time in the office.
- Using mobile phones, tablets, electronic gadgets, for computing, data hacking, or any other illegal activities.
- Using carping, intemperate, filthy, derogatory insinuating, discriminatory language in social media.
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