Chief Justice of India N.V. Ramana on Saturday said the media is running "kangaroo courts" on issues even experienced judges find difficult to decide.
Concerted campaigns against judges, particularly on social media, and media trials affect judicial functioning. Doing justice is not an easy responsibility. It is not easy to swallow when false narratives are created about the "easy life" led by judges, the CJI said.
He said ill-informed, biased and agenda-driven debates in the media on issues pending in courts are affecting justice delivery.
"New media tools have enormous amplifying ability but appear to be incapable of distinguishing between the right and the wrong, the good and the bad and the real and the fake. Media trials cannot be a guiding factor in deciding cases," Chief Justice Ramana noted.
Media has breached its responsibility, taking democracy two steps backwards, affecting people and harming the system, the Chief Justice said.
"Print media still has certain degree of accountability. Whereas, electronic media has zero accountability as to what it shows vanishes in thin air. Still worse is social media. Owing to the frequent transgressions and consequent social unrests, there is a growing demand for stricter media regulations and accountability," the CJI said in his address at a function at Ranchi in Jharkhand.
The top judge said it was best for media to self-regulate and "measure their words".
"Judges may not react immediately. Please do not mistake it to be a weakness or helplessness. When liberties are exercised responsibly, within their domains, there will be no necessity of placing reasonable or proportionate external restrictions," the CJI said.
Chief Justice Ramana expressed his worry about the increasing burden of cases piling up on a judiciary with a fragile infrastructure.
"Except for a few knee-jerk reactions I have not heard of any concrete plan to equip the judiciary to meet the challenges of the foreseeable future, leave alone, a long term vision for the century and ahead," the CJI pointed out.