Kerala High Court Condemns Adverse Social Media Remarks On Proceedings

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The Kerala High Court on Friday condemned the adverse comments made on social media against its initiation of suo motu proceedings on matters such as the recent boat tragedy and the murder of a young doctor, and said it does not intend to administer or micromanage affairs of the state as portrayed in the “cyber attacks”.
The social media posts criticising the suo motu initiations of the High Court recently drew the ire of Justice Devan Ramachandran, who along with Justice Sophy Thomas, had considered the suo motu PIL on the boat tragedy that occurred on May 7, which claimed 22 lives.

He said the “Lakshmana rekha has been breached” but the “attacks” on social media “will not be able to stifle the voice of the judges”.

The judge also charged that when the court speaks for the people, some persons consider it anti-government.

“We are not here to administer or micromanage the affairs of the state. It is when the persons who are in charge fail that we step in,” Justice Ramachandran said.

He said the fact that 22 people died or that a young doctor was killed shows that there is a problem.

“Why can’t they (social media critics) recognise that? The government is recognising that. That is why you have an investigation. To ensure that it doesn’t happen in the future,” the court said.

Justice Ramachandran said the suo motu proceedings were initiated due to concerns regarding the overloading of boats, which is an issue that needs to be resolved immediately.

“Overloading cannot be permitted. We cannot let another accident happen… When the court speaks for the people, it becomes anti-government. I don’t know how this is interpreted. Even in this we are facing cyber attacks… What kind of systems are we creating where the judges cannot speak out aloud?” the court asked.

Calling the attention of the state government to the issue, the court said, “…we are attacked. and it’s the duty of the state to ensure that the judiciary is also able to work without fear…” Justice Ramachandran said he was mentally exhausted the other day after seeing the recent tragedies and is also worried that “the courts are being attacked left, right and centre”.

“My registry is showing me all these and I am asking them not to take action. We know who these people are…,” he claimed.

He said the government is ready to accept the suggestions of the court and the pleaders too are supportive but there are some “self-appointed” persons who “make comments and act as authorities”, the court said in an apparent reference to those criticising the court’s actions on social media.

“…the lakshmana rekha has been broken. It has been breached. There is no doubt, and I hope that the people who are responsible will do something. We are not doing anything because no one can threaten me. They cannot stifle our voice,” Justice Ramachandran said, also on behalf of Justice Thomas.

He also said that the bench had considered the suo motu case as directed by the acting chief justice.

“The bench in jurisdiction was directed by the acting chief justice to take action. Any bench would have taken it. We have to ensure that there are no more such accidents,” the court said.

Justice Ramachandran also said that he was not against the police and in fact Kerala police is the best in the country.

He said “the government should also be alerted on such incidents as benches cannot work unless a government security system is in place”.

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