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Good legal criticism on a blog shouldn't automatically be viewed with 'suspicion or disdain': Bombay HC

To the best of my knowledge, this is the first time that an Indian court has taken note of criticism embodied in a web article into cognizance while crafting its opinion. Justice Patel’s reaffirmation of the proposition that the Internet contains a vast body of sound academic writing, it is hoped, will make his brother and sister judges more open to the idea of taking judicial notice of views that are well-founded, albeit expressed in traditionally unconventional fora.

writes Spicy IP about Bombay high court Justice Gautam Patel's citation and recognition of criticism of the court's John Doe order jurisprudence in two earlier blog posts on Spicy IP:

Patel held:

Criticism should always be welcome; studied and measured criticism set out with rancour or invective, even more so. This, after all, is the discourse of law, and I see no reason why orders and judgments should stand outside this discourse. The source of the criticism is surely immaterial, and the fact that the criticism is on a website or portal is not itself reason to view it with either suspicion or disdain. There is a vast body of sound academic writing online. If the law is to progress, an engagement with such criticism is essential. I do not suggest, of course, that any court or decision-making authority or body should be over-sensitive; the nature of the task demands a thick hide. Nor do I suggest that every barb and jibe deserves a response or the indulgence of scarce time and resources. However, where there is a point well-taken, it surely at least merits some thought. We should, I believe, be remiss in the performance of our public duty if we were to ignore a valid critique.

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