The Supreme Court on Tuesday said that a person cannot malign judicial officers on social media. The court made the statement while dismissing a plea challenging a Madhya Pradesh High Court order that had sentenced a man to 10 days in jail for making allegations of corruption against a district judge, reported PTI.

The Supreme Court was hearing a plea by a person named Krishna Kumar Raghuvanshi who had circulated a letter on WhatsApp allegedly maligning the “image, reputation and prestige” of additional district judge SPS Bandela.

The High Court had initiated a suo motu criminal contempt case against Raghuvanshi for making corruption allegations against the judge.

“Just because you don’t get a favourable order doesn’t mean that you will malign the judicial officer,” a bench of Supreme Court Justices Bela M Trivedi and Justice Prashant Kumar Mishra said on Tuesday. “Independence of [the] judiciary doesn’t just mean independence from [the] executive but also from outside forces. This has to be a lesson for others also.”

It added: “He should have thought twice before casting any aspersion on the judicial officer. He maligned the judicial officer. Think of the damage done to the judicial officer’s image,” Justice Trivedi observed orally.

Raghuvanshi’s counsel sought leniency from the court, saying that the imprisonment order was excessive. The lawyer said the matter pertains to personal liberty and the petitioner is in jail since May 27.

To this, the court said: “We’re here to decide on law, not show mercy. Especially to such persons.”