Chief Justice of India (CJI) DY Chandrachud has called upon judges to confront the challenges presented by social media, emphasizing the need for adaptation and caution in live-streamed court proceedings. Speaking at an event hosted by the Harvard Law School Center on the Legal Profession, CJI Chandrachud acknowledged the transformative impact of social media on the real-time reporting of courtroom proceedings.
With a surge in real-time reporting facilitated by social media, CJI Chandrachud noted that judges face the unique challenge of handling “a million journalists' reporting virtually by the minute. He stressed that technology, including social media, is no longer optional for judges and highlighted the necessity of adapting to the prevalence of digital platforms.
CJI Chandrachud distinguished between judges who challenge lawyers to draw out the best arguments and those who summarize presented arguments. However, he cautioned that remarks made during such interactions might be misconstrued as the judge's final standpoint, especially in criminal trials where discussions on social media often precede the case's conclusion.
Expressing concern about the assumption that a judge's comments represent the court's potential judgment, CJI Chandrachud pondered the impact of electronic media on trial judges during the investigative stage. He raised questions about the need for regulation or self-regulation in the face of external opinions inundating judges.
While personally disengaged from platforms like Twitter and Facebook, the CJI stressed the importance of judges maintaining a distinction between judicial reasoning and media expressions. He highlighted the imperative for judges to re-skill themselves to navigate the challenges posed by social media and new technologies.
"We need to be more conscious about what we say in court when we are live streaming our proceedings because we're likely to be misconstrued," concluded CJI Chandrachud. This call for judicial adaptation to the digital age prompts a broader conversation about the intersection of traditional court proceedings and the role of technology in shaping transparency and public perception in the justice system.
Author: Anushka Taraniya
News Writer, MIT ADT University