Crowd sourced information from Wikipedia not to be relied upon for deciding legal issues in courts: Madras High Court

The Madras High Court passed a judgement on 13th of April, 2023 in which it directed the trial court to re-investigate the matter of the appellant as it found issues regarding the judgement like sourcing information from Wikipedia and not providing the appellant with the required information of witness statements. This was seen in the case of Ziyavudeen Baqavi v. The Union of India (Crl.A.No.401 of 2023 & Crl.M.P.No.5071 of 2023 in Crl.A.No.401 of 2023) and the case was presided over by Honourable Mr. Justice M. Sundar and Honourable Mr. Justice M. Nirmal Kumar


The appellant filed an application seeking discharge from all the alleged charges laid against him under Section 227 of the Cr.P.C. The trail court had dismissed the application by relying upon information from Wikipedia and not paying heed to the case laws submitted by the counsel of the appellant. The appellant was also denied the information that he was required to know through the witness statements but was denied the same as the court held that they were protected witnesses. Hence this appeal by the appellant.


The court condemned the practices of the trial court in the case. It voiced that crowd sourced information from Wikipedia not to be relied upon for deciding legal issues in courts. The act of not providing the information that the appellant was required to know through the witness statements was a complete disregard to the provisions of the law. Only the identity of the witnesses was to be protected not the statements itself.

The learned single judge after listening to the contentions of both parties, held that the impugned order by the trial court is to be set aside. The court directed the trail court to re-investigate the matter.

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