Taking a serious note of the instances of states threatening criminal action against people seeking medical help on social media, the Supreme Court on Friday said that no state should clamp down on information if citizens are putting out their grievances on social media or elsewhere during the coronavirus pandemic
“If citizens communicate their grievance on social media and internet, then it cannot be said that it’s wrong information,” observed Justice DY Chandrachud while hearing the suo moto case pertaining to COVID-19 related issues.
In a strongly-worded statement, the top court said that it would treat it as a contempt of Court if such grievances are considered for action.
Lately, social media has been one great medium for Covid patients or their families or independent volunteers to amplify their appeal to get medical assistance. Users are flooding these platforms with appeals for urgent needs through posts, retweets, shares and story uploads to help distressed citizens in several cities across the country.
“Let a strong message go across to all states that we will consider it a contempt of this court if any citizen is harassed for making a plea on social media/media for making an appeal for oxygen/beds etc. Clampdown on information contrary to basic precepts. No state can clampdown on information.” observed the three-judge bench of Justice DY Chandrachud, alongside Justice L Nageswara Rao and Justice S Ravindra Bhat.
The apex court’s remarks came in view of UP government’s decision to prosecute people under National Security Act for allegedly raising false alarms on social media. The top court also said that the healthcare infrastructure has been inherited in the last 70 years and so the proceedings are not to criticise the Centre or states. “We are concerned only about the health of the people and it is not to pass a value judgment,” Chandrachud said.