Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Saturday said there was a “new disturbing trend” of passing objectionable comments and “trolling” judges by people on social media for not passing verdicts favourable to them.

He was speaking at an event of the Patna High Court, in the presence of Chief Justice of India SA Bobde and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, among others.

“India is a free country...we can surely criticise the reasoning of the judgement,” Prasad said. “But I foresee a new disturbing trend. Of late some people have an opinion about something, they seek to file PIL...no problem, that’s right. But then they start campaigning that we must have a judgement of this type only. And if the judgement is not in accord with what is their view, then I see disturbing comments against the judges as well in the social media. At times being trolled. This is grossly unfair.”

Prasad asserted that the judges should be given “complete freedom” to decide cases based on “their understanding and knowledge of law”.

The law minister also touched upon the matter of the new social media rules announced by the Centre last week and said that the regulations were “long overdue”.

“We are supportive of freedom, we are supportive of criticism, we are supportive of dissent too,” Prasad said. “But the issue is not of use of social media. The issue is of misuse and abuse of social media.”

The new rules were announced on February 25. The government issued a set of sweeping rules to regulate social media companies, streaming and digital news content that will virtually bring these platforms, for the first time, under the ambit of government supervision.

During the event, Prasad also spoke on the proposed establishment of All India Judicial Services, which he said was “a work in progress”, and as part of which “the best minds” would be appointed as judges after cracking competitive exams held by the Union Public Services Commission under the direction of the Supreme Court, PTI reported.

Meanwhile, Bobde, who inaugurated a new centenary building of the Patna High Court, called for reducing dependence on courts by encouraging parties to opt for “pre-litigation mediation”, which the chief justice said, has “a way of solving problems”, PTI reported.