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Harish Salve advocates tribunals for private defamation to fast-track cases

Comparing the processes to the United Kingdom, Harish Salve said that such cases are dealt within six months under English law.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi | Published: May 30, 2020 6:12:45 am
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To deal swiftly with civil defamation cases and with unjustified criticism, especially against courts, senior advocate Harish Salve has recommended setting up of private tribunals.

“I have suggested to the government that you must have tribunals for private defamation. Otherwise these cases just go on and on,” he said.

Comparing the processes to the United Kingdom, Salve said that such cases are dealt within six months under English law.

Salve, who has recently been appointed Queen’s Counsel – the equivalent of a senior advocate in India – for England and Wales, was speaking on “Insulating our judiciary from Social Media Diatribes,” in a webinar organised by CAN Foundation, a consortium of law graduates.

Coming down heavily on personal criticism of judges on social media platforms, he said, “You criticise a judgment, not the judge.” Salve also defended comments made by Solitcitor General Tushar Mehta against some senior advocates, including Congress leader Kapil Sibal, while appearing for the Centre in the Supreme Court on Thursday in a PIL on distress faced by migrant workers. Mehta had asked the senior advocates, who wanted to make an intervention in the case, to establish their bona fides and questioned what they had done to alleviate the troubles of these workers.

“A lot of people, who are not elected, feel they can impose their will on the government through courts,” Salve said. “One can criticise on whether the court should have intervened or not in the case, but to say that the court is scared of the government is wrong.”

On the criticism against the top court’s verdict in the case restricting internet speed in Kashmir, Salve said that “it is not that the SC has not stood with the people of Kashmir…. One has to have faith in the court.”

Asked by advocate Avishkar Singhvi whether former judges should exercise “self-restraint” when criticising sitting judges, Salve said judges have to act as team players. “There cannot be a cooling off period after retirement but they are all part of the same team,” he said.

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