Kerala HC regulates use of social media by court staff

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The Kerala High Court has directed the staff of the High Court and the district judiciary not to use social media for criticising the policies and actions of the government and its institutions, Ministers, judges, political leaders and social activists.

In an official memorandum regulating the use of social media and other public platforms by the judicial staff, Kerala High Court Registrar General Sophy Thomas has asked the staff not to use social media for any activities which affect the integrity, propriety and discipline of his/her official position. It has also asked the staff of the judiciary not to criticise case laws and judgments of the court, judges or judicial system on social media. They have also been restrained from using intemperate, filthy, derogatory, insinuating, or discriminatory language on social media.

The memorandum has also asked the judicial staff to be careful in expressing or propagating any opinion which may offend any cultural, ethnic, social or religious groups on social media. The staff are also asked not to make derogatory or insulting remarks, comments pertaining to any person or group of persons, either official, socio-cultural or political, on social media.

Court proceedings

They have been asked not to publish any proceedings, official actions, records or data from the office files in social media or publish blogs without prior permission from the High Court. The judicial staff have also been directed not to use mobile phones, tablets or other electronic gadgets for corrupting, data hacking or any other illegal activities.

The official order said that the High Court will have a monitoring cell to observe and secure computer and Internet systems provided in the courts and report about the misuse of social media. The staff of the High Court and district judiciary have been asked to declare their e-mail address and social media accounts.

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