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Politicians must maintain respectful language even in criticism: Karnataka High Court

The Karnataka High Court reminded politicians to maintain respectful language during elections, especially towards high-ranking officials. Justice Krishna S. Dixit temporarily stayed FIRs against BJP leaders for derogatory posts about state leaders, emphasizing courteous speech. He noted the impracticality of jailing all offenders and urged focus on heinous crimes.

Politicians must maintain respectful language even in criticism: Karnataka High Court vkp
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First Published Jun 22, 2024, 3:10 PM IST

The Karnataka High Court has issued a strong reminder to politicians, emphasizing the importance of maintaining a respectful tone during elections. The court highlighted the necessity for politicians to ensure their speech reflects responsibility and courtesy, particularly when referring to high-ranking officials such as the Prime Minister, Chief Minister, Deputy Chief Minister, and other ministers.

The ruling came during a hearing involving BJP state president BY Vijayendra and Prashant Makanur, who had filed a criminal petition seeking the cancellation of FIRs registered against them for sharing derogatory posts about Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and Deputy Chief Minister DK Shivakumar on social media. Justice Krishna S. Dixit presided over the case, temporarily staying the FIRs and issuing notices to the Malleshwaram station police.

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In his remarks, Justice Dixit expressed displeasure over the language used in the posts, underscoring that foul language should never be employed in political discourse. He urged politicians to use respectful and beautiful language, marked by love, responsibility, courtesy, and restraint. The judge stressed that during elections, the connection between one's tongue and brain should not falter.

Drawing a historical parallel, the judge recalled an instance involving former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. When asked to write the foreword for a book titled "Indira Javabdo," Vajpayee insisted it be changed to "Indira ji Jawabdo" to maintain a respectful tone. This, the judge noted, exemplifies the importance of using respectful language, even in criticism.

Justice Dixit also reminded politicians that the opposition is not an enemy and that power dynamics can shift. He cautioned against speaking ill of those in constitutional positions and emphasized that even social media posts should be considerate and non-acidic.

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Addressing concerns about the unpleasant incidents during elections, the court acknowledged the government's condemnation of such events but stressed that public insults toward the CM and DCM are unacceptable. While the petitioners were not required to attend the hearing, the state government prosecutor, B.N. Jagdish, requested the investigation to continue. However, the court questioned the feasibility of investigating everyone involved in such incidents, suggesting that jailing everyone would be impractical and unreasonable.

The bench concluded by emphasizing that investigations should focus on those committing heinous crimes and that the judicial system must strike a balance to avoid overcrowding jails with individuals for minor infractions.

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