Justice Muralidhar stated that,”While reacting to the misinformation, scandalised the Judge presiding over this Bench and questioned the integrity of the judiciary as a whole”.
On Monday, Delhi HC took suo motu congnizance of “innuendo-laden tweets” posted by Journalist Swaminathan Gurumurthy questioning credibility of Justice S Muralidhar, who was on a Division Bench with Justice IS Mehta which granted interim protection to Karti Chidambaram from being arrested by the Enforcement Directorate in the INX Media case.
HC Bench comprising of Justice Muralidhar and Justice Mehta took cognizance of the tweets made by S Gurumurthy, the editor of magazine ‘Tughlak’.
The Delhi High Court Bench noted that, “Within a few hours of the order in present WP on 9th March 2018, a twitter handle @sgurumurthy tweeted that,“Is it true that Justice Muralidhar who decided the Karthi petition today was a junior under PC?”.
This was followed by another tweet which stated that,“It is sad that SC directed Delhi HC to hear the Karthi case instantly today clearly hinting that he had to be protected. And the HC protected him, it opens a flood gate for offenders, Congress is major beneficiary of this.”
Justice Muralidhar expounded that,“The above innuendo-laden tweet of Mr Gurumurthy triggered an avalanche of reactions from those following him on twitter. Many of the comments, which are not worth reproducing, while reacting to the misinformation, scandalised the Judge presiding over this Bench and questioned the integrity of the judiciary as a whole”.
He further added that,“Being the editor of a magazine that has a wide readership in Tamil Nadu, had Mr. S. Gurumurthy cared to check, he could easily have ascertained that the presiding Judge of this Bench was a junior of Mr. G. Ramswamy, who then was the Additional Solicitor General of India and who later was the Attorney General for India. At no time did the presiding Judge work as a junior to Mr. P. Chidambaram, Senior Advocate, the father of the Petitioner. It is unfortunate that despite some of the tweets in response clarifying the correct factual position, Mr. Gurumurthy chose not to withdraw his mischievous and false tweet”.
However, after the order, tweet was pulled down by Gurumurthy who then posted the tweet stating that,“I understand Justice Muralidharan called both side lawyers & told them that he was never PC junior. He felt sad judges have no protection against social media wrong news. Judges need it. I have deleted the tweet asking whether he was PC junior”.
Justice Muralidhar further added that,”He chose to take suo motu note of the tweet since he wanted to place on record correct facts”.
ASG Tushar Mehta submitted before the Court that such tweets are “best ignored”.
High Court did not proceed to take any action, Court left it to ASG and the Bar to see if such tweets call for any action.