Madras High Court: In a matter relating to the constitution and operation of the special cells for surveillance and to curb the slurring attacks on individuals and on the constitutional functionaries and high officials in the State and Central Government, M. Dhandapani, J. has observed that this matter has been pending for more than a year and half without much progress having been made in the constitution and functioning of the special cells, which were directed to be constituted, thus, directed the respondent to take steps to procure the equipment and establish the special cells at the earliest, and to submit a comprehensive report along with the report of the Electronics Corporation of Tamil Nadu regarding the opening of the tenders, by the next date of the hearing.
The Court noted that vide order dated 26.07.2022 it had impleaded the Electronics Corporation of Tamil Nadu as a party-respondent and had entrusted it with the task of floating the tender for the purchase of equipment with which the surveillance could be taken up for the social media platforms and to stop any slurring attacks on individuals and on the constitutional functionaries and high officials in the State and Central Government, upon receipt of complaints.
The Court viewed that many individuals, using the YouTube Channel, are propagating wrong and deceitful information, which unsettles the mind of the common man, and opined that digital media must be used for the public good and using the same to vent ire against any individuals or against constitutional functionaries and high officials in the State and Central Government would not only be a personal attack on their privacy and prestige, but would also be damaging the reputation of the said individuals and would also have a cascading effect on the work discharged by them.
The Court observed that every day it comes across many videos, which maligns not only the constitutional functionaries and high officials in the State and Central Government, but also the common man, thus, it had directed constitution of special cells with the necessary infrastructure, so that as and when complaints of such nature are received, the same could be dealt with by the special cells and the derogatory acts could be nipped in the bud
The Court viewed that it is not pointing out any particular instance or channel that castigates the individuals and the officials in the State and Central Government and the constitutional functionaries. Further, it was observed that, though this Court could wield its judicial power to curb the menace and maintain the social decorum and harmony in society, however, it is the duty of the law enforcing agencies to be more vigilant and go to the rescue of the affected persons, rather than putting it on the head of the Court to interfere in every single instance. Thus, the Court had constituted the special cells and, therefore, the operation of the special cells at the earliest is of utmost importance.
The matter will next be taken up on 02-11-2022.
[ A. Maruthachalam v. State, Criminal Original Petition No. 34166 of 2019, decided on 18-10-2022]