NEW DELHI: Justice DY Chandrachud, known for his staunch defence of right to free speech, on Thursday gave full vent to his angst caused by media’s misguided criticism based on disproportionately twisted facts and warned, “there is a limit to which you can target a judge”.
Justice Chandrachud, sitting with Justice Surya Kant, referred to a certain fortnight-old media report which wrongly projected that the SC was delaying hearing on a petition filed by Archbishop of Bangalore Diocese Peter Machado, along with the National Solidarity Forum and the Evangelical Fellowship of India. They had alleged that attacks against Christians and their institutions are on the rise in India.
The petition was earlier mentioned by senior advocate Colin Gonsalves, and Justice Chandrachud had agreed to list it for hearing on a certain date. On the appointed day, the matter got adjourned as Justice Chandrachud was down with Covid and could not conduct court hearings. This was when the news item appeared accusing the court of delaying the hearing.
When the petition was mentioned on Thursday by another advocate, Justice Chandrachud said, “Last time the matter could not be taken up because, I was down with Covid. You get it published in the media that the Supreme Court is delaying the hearing. Look, there is limit to which you can target the judges.”
“What I saw online was that Judges are delaying hearing. Give us a break! One of the Judges was down with Covid and this was the reason why we could not take up the matter,” he said.
CJI NV Ramana too had taken exception to the electronic and social media crossing the limits while reporting and had advocated self-regulation. “Looking at recent trends, it is best for the media to measure their words. You should not overstep and invite interference, either from the government or from the courts…,” the CJI had said.