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Online sources such as Wikipedia not entirely reliable: Supreme Court

A bench of Justice Surya Kant and Vikram Nath acknowledged the usefulness of platforms that provide free access to knowledge worldwide but cautioned against such sources for legal dispute resolution.  

Online sources such as Wikipedia not entirely reliable: Supreme Court - adt
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First Published Jan 18, 2023, 5:14 PM IST

Online sources like Wikipedia are based on a crowd-sourced and user-generated editing model that is not entirely reliable and can promote misleading information, the Supreme Court said. 

A bench of Justice Surya Kant and Vikram Nath acknowledged the usefulness of platforms that provide free access to knowledge worldwide but cautioned against such sources for legal dispute resolution.  

On Tuesday, the bench said, "We say so because, despite being a treasure trove of knowledge, these sources are based on a crowd-sourced and user-generated editing model that is not completely dependable in terms of academic veracity and can promote misleading information, as this court has also noted on previous occasions."

Additionally, the Supreme Court said courts and adjudicating authorities should try to persuade counsel to rely on more reliable and authentic sources. 

The remark was made in a judgement regarding the correct classification of imported 'All in One Integrated Desktop Computers' under the First Schedule to the Centre Excise Tariff Act of 1985. 

The Supreme Court observed that adjudicating authorities, particularly the Commissioner of Customs (Appeal), relied heavily on online sources such as Wikipedia to support their conclusions.

In 2010, former Supreme Court Justice Markandey Katju referred to Wikipedia for the definition of 'common law marriage' while delivering a decision.

Justice Katju used information from Wikipedia to develop a four-point guideline and ruled that live-in relationships must meet it to be classified as a 'relationship' like marriage under the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act, 2005.

(With inputs from PTI)

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Also read: 'Orchestrated confrontation to intimidate and capture judiciary': Congress slams Centre over its letter to CJI
 

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