The Kerala High Court introduced a Draft Code of Conduct for its staff and officers to “regulate their involvement and intervention in social media and other public platforms” after the administrative meeting held on March 22. The Code of Conduct says that the staff cannot criticise the policies and actions of the government. It says, “Staff members of the High Court and District Judiciary shall not use social media for making offensive, irresponsible or defamatory statements criticising policies and actions of the government and its institutions, ministers, officials, heads of departments, judges, political leaders and social activists etc.”
Moreover, the staff cannot indulge in “criticising case laws and judgments of the courts, Judges or judicial system to scandalise them in social media”, shall not indulge in social media causing depletion of work time, and “shall not use social media for any activities which affect the integrity, propriety and discipline of his/her official position.”
According to the document, The HC will have a Monitoring Cell (MC) to observe and secure proper use of computer and internet system provided in the courts and to report about the misuse of social media using the computers and electronic gadgets supplied to the office of the courts and staff members of the High Court and District Judiciary. MC will report such instances of misuse of social media by staff members of the HC and District Judiciary to the Registrar General.
Moreover, the staff will also have to declare their e-mail address, as well as their social media accounts, and they cannot have fake IDs, accounts, or addresses. They cannot indulge on the internet apart from official purpose during office hours, access prohibited sites, and exchange personal messages on official sites.
“Staff members of the High Court and District Judiciary shall not use carping, intemperate, filthy, derogatory insinuating, and discriminatory language in social media… Staff shall be very careful in expressing or propagating any opinion on social media, which may offend any cultural, ethnic, social or religious group. They shall take care that no derogatory or insulting remarks, comments pertaining to any person, group of persons — be it official, socio-cultural or political — shall be made on social media,” the document added.