In the case of Indian Government asking the social network sites to ban and delete “offensive content”, things took a strange turn. When the case came in front of the Delhi High Court, the judge had a strange take.
“Like China, we will block all such websites,” Justice Suresh Kait told the counsel for Facebook and Google India.
If one really thinks about it, the judges remark is a gross violation of our judicial system. Why? Here are the reasons why.
- Indian Courts are to follow the provisions of Indian laws which have been laid down by a democratically elected Executive and legislature. These are based on the Common laws originating from England, due our historical foundation of legal system. China, however, follows a different judicial system and set of laws. They are based on their culture and Government style, which is not democratic.
- A Judge of the Indian courts is a servant of the Indian legal provisions. S/he may have a lot of personal ideas and values, but s/he has to by oath, defend the provisions of Indian laws as laid down by our system. For a judge to threaten use of laws of a foreign country is violation of his basic oath. To rule on matters before the court, Justice Kait is bound to follow Indian laws.
- Judgments in the courts have to be based on sound justice principles not Jingoism!
- The ethos of a country decides the laws in that country. Courts, whenever they indulge in Judicial activism, they endeavour to promote that basic ethos of India and further equality and justice in the country. Such judgments can set a precedence of invoking over-riding and far reaching powers of the state, which by proxy are being shown to extend to branches other than the Executive. This is unacceptable specially as it is dealing with entities that are prominent in International Commerce.
- This must be the only case, where a companies from outside the country – Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo from US – are being judged by a country’s legal system – India – under the laws of none of these two countries, but a third country – China!! If there was ever a ridiculous judicial situation, this is it!
Beyond the obvious issues with the justice’s lack of judicial integrity is the issue of confidence of Global Commercial system in India’s system itself. From the Indian Government to the Indian courts, we are seeing a disturbing trend. Every one in the system seems to be exerting his power, not because he has that power, but because he can usurp it because of the lack of integrity of the democratic system to uphold its constitutionally enshrined values.
This should be disturbing to many, including the Indian citizens. India’s system just acts as a democratic system, but behaves like an authoritarian one. And this is the most important reason why Justice Kait’s statement is a disgrace!
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