Impact of Social Media on the Judiciary

Social Media & Indian Judiciary

Sonali Das

9/8/20234 min read


Without a doubt, social media has transformed how individuals connect, obtain information, and share their ideas. Social media sites have influenced every part of our lives because of their broad reach and fast connectivity. This article's main aim is to explore the impact of social media on the Indian judiciary, examining its historical background, advantages, drawbacks, and consequential effects on the legal system.

The Importance of Social Media:

People can, without hesitation, share their opinions and participate in public discussions via social media, which is a vital tool. It has opened the door for the democratization of knowledge, allowing people to learn more about societal concerns, such as those relating to the judiciary. Social media sites like Twitter, Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, etc., now play a crucial role in molding public opinion and impacting a wide range of societal issues.

A Short History of Social Media:

In the early 2000s, when websites like Friendster and My Space first appeared, social media began to take off. These platforms heralded the dawn of a new age in online communication by establishing a venue for interpersonal interaction, knowledge sharing, and self-expression. However, the rise of Facebook, Twitter, and other social media behemoths in the late 2000s saw a phenomenal boom and made social media a worldwide phenomenon.

Social Media's Pros and Cons:
  • Enhanced knowledge Access: Social media serves as a massive library of knowledge, allowing users to obtain varied viewpoints and remain up to current on legal changes.

  • Public Participation: Social media encourages public conversations about legal issues, allowing individuals to express their concerns and even make comments and recommendations.

  • Transparency and accountability: The judges may utilize social media to broadcast their rulings, increasing transparency and public faith in the legal system.

  • False information Transmission: The uncontrolled nature of social media may lead to the transmission of misleading information, hurting individuals' reputations and possibly affecting court rulings.

  • Threats to Judicial Impartiality: The use of social media exposes judges to biased viewpoints or external pressure, which might jeopardize their autonomy and impartiality.

  • Privacy Concerns: Because personal information may be easily accessible and exploited, using social media poses a risk to the anonymity of judges, attorneys, and litigants.

Social Media's Impact on the Indian Judiciary:
  • Increased public Consciousness: Social media has empowered the people, increased their awareness of legal concerns, and allowed them to hold authorities responsible.

  • Rapid Information Transmission: Social media platforms have altered how information and legal updates are conveyed, ensuring the timely transmission of critical information to a large audience.

  • Enhanced Public Scrutiny: Judicial judgments are increasingly being scrutinized intensely by the public on social media platforms, altering public perception and perhaps eroding faith in the judiciary.

  • Efficient Communication: Social media allows the court to connect with the public directly, establishing a feeling of transparency and accountability.

The Indian Context:

Social media usage in India has increased significantly over the years, making it critical for the court to adapt to this digital reality. The Indian judiciary has actively embraced social media, with various high courts, including the Supreme Court, having official accounts for information dissemination. However, the possible hazards linked with social media must be recognized in order to maintain judicial independence, impartiality, and privacy.

Trials in the Media

Instead of facts, social media has developed into a medium for disseminating themes that would help them get TRP. Prolonged speculative discussions and debates are held, jeopardizing the rights of those who witnessed and the person being accused. The right to free expression provided by subsection (a) of Article 19 has been routinely violated. Criminal jurisprudence in India is usually based on the idea that a person accused cannot be deemed guilty until his guilt is proven in a court of law. Social media disseminates ideas about both victims and perpetrators that could or could not be true.

The mass media overlooks the Indian judiciary' "Innocent far away from a reasonable doubt" and "Innocent until proven guilty" standards. It creates an obligation for trial courts, must mitigate the impact of biased publicity. Constant remarks from such social media sites may drive judges to find support from the media rather than deciding what is genuinely necessary in the case.

The court in the Nupur Sharma case has slammed social media for its "agenda-driven" nature.

Bringing forth serious concern about digital and social media crossing the 'Lakshman Rekha' and resorting to "personal agenda-driven attacks" on the judiciary and judges and judges, as well as holding "media trials," Supreme Court Justice JB Pardiwala called for the creation of laws and mechanisms to regulate the two media, saying it is necessary to preserve the "rule of law under the constitution." Justice J B Pardiwala also said that the judges must not participate in social media discussion as “judges never speak through their tongue, only their judgments”.

The statements by Justice Pardiwala at a function here came amid a backlash from a part over the harsh oral observations of a vacation bench, of which he was a member, against suspended BJP politician Nupur Sharma for her inflammatory remarks against Prophet Mohammed. The Supreme Court stated that her "loose tongue" had "set the entire country on fire" and that she should apologize.

The bench's findings, which rejected consolidating the FIRs filed against Sharma throughout the country, ignited a debate, especially on digital and social media platforms, leading to unkind comments directed at the judges.

"In India, which cannot be described as a mature and informed democracy, social and digital media are frequently used to politicize purely legal and constitutional issues," Justice Pardiwala remarked, using the Ayodhya land dispute case as an example.

"Today, social and digital media are primarily used to express individualized opinions against judges rather than constructive critical appraisals of their decisions." This is what is causing harm to the judicial institutions and degrading their dignity," he stated.

The constitutional courts, according to Justice Pardiwala, have always graciously tolerated informed dissent and constructive criticism, and the legal ethos has always prohibited "personalized, agenda-driven attacks'' on the judges.

He stated that courts should not engage in social media conversations since "judges never speak through their tongue, only their judgments."


The Indian judiciary has both possibilities and problems in the age of social media. While social media promotes public participation, openness, and accountability, it also poses problems such as disinformation, challenges to judicial integrity, and privacy issues. Careful regulation and appropriate use of social media platforms are required to reap the advantages while minimizing the adverse outcomes. In an ever-changing digital world, the Indian court must find a balance in order to successfully use the potential of social media.

(Edited and Posted By Lawful Bytes Team)

Sonali Das


Army Institute of Law Mohali