Social media has emerged to be the most emphatic influence on all public, and its impact sends far reaching ripples on various strata of the society. It has all come to a point where random people sitting in far corners of the world decide our emotions, responses and reactions to different incidents; the power of instigating or stifling public anger directed towards specific instances or persons. The stride has not spared legal administration either, and social media plays a major role in shaping and modifying the legal system of India. On the brighter side, it has spread much legal awareness by publishing news, judgments, and laws on various social media; enabling more people to get familiarized with principles and laws that they otherwise would not have come to know. There is no requirement to plummet into scholarly articles to resolve a simple query or doubt, all you need to do is access social media pages specializing in laws; it saves a tremendous amount of effort and time for the seeker. On the other side, it also has spread hoax news and unnecessary panic among people, giving false information and misleading the public.
This is precisely where you need to see where the information is coming from, check and confirm the credibility of your source, and only then proceed to act on such information. All the data you find online might not give a clear, true picture of the law; and it is advisable to depend on a trustworthy website to ensure that that your source is dependable. Social media controls public sentiments and knowledge to an extent beyond speculationsand any wrong information carries a dangerous potential of being spread to millions. The impact of social media can be seen from the mass public outrage that pours out on crimes that are celebrated on social media like Facebook, the unending trolls on Twitter, the chains of reactions and the spurs of criticism poured out on the government, the police and the administration.
In spreading awareness of existing laws, and in steering a change of laws, social media becomes an important player.
Law evolves with change in social composition and with the varying demands of the stakeholders, and the role played by the social media in the entire process is in creating, altering and modifying public sentiments towards a need of amendment in law (remember the hue and cry for criminal law amendment after the controversial Delhi rape case) is commendable in the current social scenario. In spreading awareness of existing laws, and in steering a change of laws, social media becomes an important player as the platform where discussions, debates, lobbying and more!
The presence of credible players on the social media promoting knowledge and awareness of law, is not only a social requirement to ensure that people know of their right, but also serves the purpose of facilitating the expansion and evolution of law.
The author is Founder, Legal Resolved