The Madras High Court today directed filing of an affidavit on "abusive" and "defamatory" messages degrading the judiciary in social media allegedly posted by persons aggrieved over the court's observations regarding government employees and teachers, who are presently on a strike. Justice N Kirubakaran gave the directive to a group of advocates who brought to his notice that "abusive, malicious, defamatory, false and obscene messages are spreading virally in the social media, accusing and degrading the judiciary in general and this court, in particular". In his oral observations, the judge said public criticism of judicial directives without going into details has become a habit for all, including panelists on TV debates. He cited his personal experience of having received letters strongly rebuking him for his order making wearing of helmets compulsory.
The judge went on to say that he had never been rebuked to such an extent even by his parents or teachers. Advocates Senthil Kumar, Suryaprakasam, Gnanasekaran and G Sankaran said the messages were uploaded on social media by those aggrieved by some of the observations made in the orders passed regarding the teachers and other government servants, who have been protesting against the government by boycotting work. Justice Kirubakaran had on September 13 said, "Only five government school students from the state have managed to secure medical seats and protesting teachers should feel ashamed of this fact." "They should know the responsibility of their duty... such persons cannot be involved in strikes," he had said while hearing a petition seeking a direction to the state government to form an expert committee to prepare students, who scored low marks in NEET (National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test), and provide them moral support. The advocates alleged that the messages were an attempt to intimidate the court by a section of people who were involved in the strike. "It would not only amount to contempt of court but also amount to interference with justice delivery system." They wanted those responsible for such message to be dealt with firmly, saying if this was not nipped in the bud, any person who failed to get a favourable order from the court would also follow the same path. Responding to the submissions, government lawyer T N Rajagopalan said the allegations were without any basis and if any documents were produced action would be taken. The judge then directed the advocates to file affidavits with copies of the messages and adjourned the matter to September 18. The government employees are on a strike from September 7 to press their demands, including restoration of the old pension scheme. Hearing petitions related to contributory pension scheme (CPS) of government employees today, the judge raised a series of questions for the government on its implementation. He sought to know whether it was a fact that many retired staff had not been paid the pension amount and whether amount equal to that being deducted from an employee's salary was being deposited by the government. Petitioners alleged that even though the amount was being deducted from the salary of the government employees, equal contribution to be made by the government was not being deposited and in many cases the CPS fund amount had not been paid even after retirement. He directed the authorities to file their response to the queries by September 18. In any event, irrespective of the legitimacy of the claim (over the pension), this court does not approve the strike by the teachers, as it goes against the interest of children, the judge said in his order.
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