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Harish Salve Deletes Twitter Account, Fali Nariman 'Happy to Not Have One'

Senior lawyer Harish Salve opined that there has to be some guidelines to fasten accountability with those posting abusive materials on social media.

Utkarsh Anand | CNN-News18

Updated:October 5, 2017, 1:52 PM IST
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Harish Salve Deletes Twitter Account, Fali Nariman 'Happy to Not Have One'
File photo of senior lawyer Harish Salve.
New Delhi: Abusive tweets and social media posts became the focus of a hearing in the Supreme Court as senior lawyer Harish Salve disclosed he had to delete his Twitter account because of extremely offensive posts.

On the other hand, eminent jurist Fali S Nariman said he was fortunate to not have a Twitter account at all.

A three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra was adjudicating whether MPs and MLAs can get away by issuing reckless statements on pending criminal investigations. The moot question was whether their right to free speech will protect them even though their statements might influence the probe.

Salve, one of the amicus curiae in this matter, was of the opinion that free speech would not mean a liberty to hamper a probe or tarnish reputations of others.

Justice DY Chandrachud, one of the judges on the bench, pointed out how Nariman, another amicus in this case, was attacked on social media for seeking protection for Rohingya immigrants in India.

"I was shocked to see the kind of comments made against Mr Nariman. People feel free to say anything. How can that be? After all, he is an officer of this Court and a senior lawyer of stature," remarked Justice Chandrachud.

Responding, Salve disclosed that he felt compelled to shut his Twitter account because of abusive comments.

"It is so disturbing. I was appearing for Christian College and when I came back from Court, I saw so many offensive comnments that I decided to close my account. They say all kinds of things under the guise of personal views and then there is no accountability," rued Salve.

The senior lawyer opined that there has to be some guidelines to fasten accountability with those posting abusive materials on social media.

Nariman, a more conventional and old school lawyer, quipped: "That's why I feel it is better to stay away from all this. I am in a reasonably happy state because I don't have a Twitter account."

At this, Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra recalled his judgment upholding constitutional validity of criminal defamation, and emphasised importance of people's reputation.

"Everyone is abusing everyone else and it looks okay at some time. But it pinches when you are attacked. Now Mr Salve says he has closed his Twitter account and Mr Nariman feels happy he doesn't have one. Right to reputation is a facet of Article 21 (life and liberty) and that's what I said in our judgment," said the CJI.
(Get detailed and live results of each and every seat in the Lok Sabha elections and state Assembly elections in Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim to know which candidate/party is leading or trailing and to know who has won and who has lost and by what margin. Our one-of-its-kind Election Analytics Centre lets you don a psephologist’s hat and turn into an election expert. Know interesting facts and trivia about the elections and see our informative graphics. Elections = News18)
| Edited by: Sanchari Chatterjee
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