Karnataka

Courts faced with new questions on freedom of expression: CJI

Chief Justice of India Sharad Arvind Bobde speaking after inaugurating the 19th biennial State-level conference of judicial officers in Bengaluru on Saturday.

Chief Justice of India Sharad Arvind Bobde speaking after inaugurating the 19th biennial State-level conference of judicial officers in Bengaluru on Saturday.   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

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Can playing loud music on a sound system at a wedding or at a place of worship be considered an integral part of freedom of expression? The judiciary, which had to deal with the question on whether Internet can be part of freedom of expression on Friday in the Supreme Court, is confronted with such emerging issues daily, said Chief Justice of India (CJI) Sharad Arvind Bobde on Saturday.

Speaking after inaugurating the 19th biennial State-level conference of judicial officers, organised by the Karnataka State Judicial Officers’ Association, he said the explosion of knowledge and system of communication warrant interdisciplinary approaches and analysis.

“Yesterday, the Supreme Court pronounced on whether Internet can be part of the freedom of expression guaranteed by the Constitution. These are points which the judiciary is being called upon to decide... For instance, if there is a marriage pandal or any temple, mosque or any other place which is loudly playing music through a sound system, the question of whether utilisation of a sound system is integral to freedom of expression could arise,” he said.

“These are things which the Judiciary is being called upon to determine daily. An understanding of human rights and democratic accountability provides new parameters for appraising judicial functioning in our society. Judges without adequate knowledge, skills and experience may cause distortion, delay and miscarriage of justice,” the CJI said.

Recommending reforms in judicial education, he said that judges are made, not born. “The quality of a judge and the quality of the judicial process in large measure is contingent upon the quality of learning and experience obtained by him. A key question, therefore, will be how we can we improve the quality of judges,” he said.

Moot courts

Justice Bobde went on to say that it is a common perception that moot courts are organised only to train law students. “I wonder if this method of moot court could be adapted and introduced at judicial academies for training judges. Questions that a judge should ask or should not ask are all matters which require training and education,” he said.

Referring to the Ayodhya case, he said, “In a recent case which was decided by the Supreme Court, we had to deal with religious concepts, the value of archaeology, whether it was scientific or not, the land revenue records, and almost everything under the sun. It is the Bar which assists us, but judges must have knowledge about all this.”

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Printable version | Jan 24, 2020 11:32:04 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/courts-faced-with-new-questions-on-freedom-of-expression-cji/article30546354.ece

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