The Delhi High Court has taken suo motu cognizance of a tweet by the editor of Tamil magazine Thuglak, Swaminathan Gurumurthy, allegedly questioning the integrity of a judge who gave relief to Karti Chidambaram from Enforcement Directorate arrest till the next hearing in the INX media case.
On March 9, a division bench of Justices S Muralidhar and IS Mehta had restrained the Enforcement Directorate (ED) from taking any coercive steps against Karti until the next date of hearing on March 20. Referring to the order, Gurumurthy, in a tweet had asked: “Is it true that Justice Muralidhar who decided the Karthi petition today was a junior under PC?” The tweet has since been deleted.
Karti was then in CBI custody and is currently in judicial custody.
The high court on Monday maintained that the tweet by Gurumurthy, who is a chartered accountant and political commentator, and the subsequent reaction on it “questioned the integrity of judiciary” and considered it “necessary to place on record the correct facts” as “misinformation” on social media unfortunately spreads like “wildfire.”
“This Twitter handle has a following of 2,59,000. 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,” the court said.
The court also rebuked Gurumurthy and said being an editor of a magazine that has a wide readership in Tamil Nadu, he did not check facts.
“Had Mr S Gurumurthy cared to check, he could have easily ascertained that the presiding judge of this Bench was a junior to G Ramaswamy, who then was the Additional Solicitor General for India. At no time did the presiding judge work as a junior to P Chidambaram, senior advocate and 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,” the court said.