WikiMedia – The New Secondary Legal Source

DEBASHIS MUKHERJEE
Advocate, Supreme Court of India / Delhi High Court; Litigation Head, LEGALICS - Law Attorneys & Legal Consultants; Sr. Associate (Off Location), Excelex Law Offices, Mumbai (TMT Practice) H – 1559 Chittaranjan Park, New Delhi – 110 019 7, Rashi Apartments, Plot 3, Sector 7, Dwarka, New Delhi - 110075 M: +91 9999 42 4040 T: +91 98180 37473 F: +91 11 451 37473 E: debashis@legalics.com

CC-BY-SA 3.0 LICENSE

WikiMedia – The New Secondary Legal Source

In the study of law, moreso in the interpretation thereof, we are always in the search of sources of laws so that society as a whole can live a regulated life. Source classification is important because the persuasiveness of a source usually depends upon its history.

Primary sources are statements of the law from a governmental entity such as a Court, Legislature, Executive agency, President, or Governor and may include cases, constitutions, statutes, administrative regulations, and other sources of binding legal authority.

Secondary sources offer an analysis, commentary or a restatement of primary law. Secondary sources are used to help locate and explain primary sources of law. These sources may influence a legal decision but they do not have the controlling or binding authority like the primary sources of law. Secondary legal sources may include books, articles, and encyclopedias. 1

Legal writers usually prefer to cite primary sources because only primary sources are authoritative and precedential, while secondary sources are only persuasive at best. 2

At this juncture, it is pertient to state that WikiMedia in its various forms, especially Wikipedia, the free encyclopaedia has become a Secondary Source of Law the world over. Students, Professors, Paralegals, Lawyers, law Researchers and even Judges have started using it as any other encyclopaedia, despite its online character and the most dangerous aspect – its ability to be edited by one and all.

1

Bouchoux, Deborah E. (2000), Cite Checker: A Hands-On Guide to Learning Citation Form, Thomson Delmar Learning, p. 45, ISBN 0766818934 Ibid

2

The use of ‘Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia that anyone can edit’ is an encyclopedia is that is to be carefully read, understood and then reaffirmed mainly because of its inherent problem of stability i.e. it can be edited by anyone at anytime, and may not be static in character even for a few minutes. Further, at times, it is riddled with faulty or malafide edits. Although sometimes other people do remove wrong edits, it is neither routine nor assured. In the backdrop of the above, a few years back, when we heard of foreign courts, citing from ‘Wikipedia –The Free Encyclopaedia’ people were aghast. More than the people the legal fraternity itself was sceptical of the use of Wikipedia for defining or understanding any proposition, be it legal, material or factual. Not only as a source of law, but even generally when we look at any piece of literary work, we generally look at its credibility. For which we first see the author/ the editor, his intellectual capacity, his knowledge, his capability, his reputation and last but not the least the publisher. However, when we see Wikipedia, the author is unknown, the editor is unknown, his intellectual capacity is unknown, his knowledge is unknown, his capability is unknown and his reputation is unknown. Further, herein the pubishers i.e. the WikiMedia camaraderie does not monitor the edits on a regular basis. On a lighter vein, the legal fraternity not only feared the possibly everchanging knowledge bank, but also the vast and unending source that could burden the already ‘noble’ and ‘knowledgeable’ legal professionals. This being so, as in a court of law, the lawyer has to don the garb of his client and be prepared with the relevant facts and figures, apart from his legal prowess. More than anything else, he has to be at least one up from his opponent for which he has to toil hard.

THE US EXPERIENCE The Volokh Conspiracy notes 3 that courts have cited Wikipedia in decisions over 300 times, i.e. to say that that the user-created encyclopedia has been used in documents that become part of the public record for over three hundred times in the United States alone. However, the decision in Rickher v. Home Depot, Inc. 4 by the Seventh Circuit was criticised for the use of the Wikipedia definition of "wear and tear" over the definition given by Webster's II New College Dictionary and Random House Webster's College Dictionary In the recent case of United States of America vs. Karen Cunagin Sypher, 5 the US Federal Court refused to accept Wikipedia as a credible source. In his order Judge Simpson wrote: …defense counsel appears to have cobbled much of his statement of the law governing ineffective assistance of counsel claims by cutting and pasting, without citation, from the Wikipedia web site … The court reminds counsel that such cutting and pasting, without attribution, is plagiarism. … Finally, the court reminds counsel that Wikipedia is not an acceptable source of legal authority in the United States District Courts. Since 2004 - 2007, U.S. judges have cited Wikipedia sources in over 100 of their judicial opinions; this includes 13 from the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeal. For example, Judge Richard Posner of the U.S. Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit, praises Wikipedia as a “terrific resource” due to its convenience and accuracy. Although Wikipedia has been cited in judicial opinions discussing serious issues, Judge Posner notes that when it pertains to a critical issue, he finds it inappropriate to cite Wikipedia as a source.
3 Eugene Volokh, Questionable Use of Wikipedia by the Seventh Circuit?, July 30, 2008 at 1:02pm, http://volokh.com/posts/1217437325.shtml 4

http://www.ca7.uscourts.gov/tmp/CL0Y63R9.pdf http://www.kywd.uscourts.gov/cases/usa_v_sypher/pdf/entry223.pdf

5

However, legal scholars debate whether using Wikipedia in judicial opinions is viable. Notwithstanding its practical use, some feel that using Wikipedia in judicial opinions could potentially introduce opportunistic editing thereby creating articles that could influence a case’s outcome. There are also many who question the authenticity of Wikipedia sources. 6

6

Noam Cohen, Courts Turn to Wikipedia, but Selectively, January 29, 2007, http://www.nytimes.com/2007/01/29/technology/29wikipedia.html and http://www.lawsof.com/page/U.S.-CourtsFrequently-Cite-Wikipedia-.html

THE LAW OF THE LAND

The Supreme Court of India lays down the law of the land in case it is not explicitly provided for in any statute. Even in such a case it has the power of determining its veracity on the touchstone of constitutional validity. In India, the credit of using Wikipedia in Supreme Court decisions is attributed to Hon’ble Mr. Justice Markandey Katju in the case of D. Velusamy v. D. Patchaiammal 7 [concepts of ‘palimony’, ‘Common Law Marriage’], wherein the Apex Court had used definitions from the Wikipedia to base its judgement. This was however not the first instance that the Indian judiciary had a look into ‘Wikipedia’. In the case of M/s. Ponds India Ltd. v. Commissioner of Trade Tax 8 [use of the term ‘white petroleum jelly’], the Supreme Court had to deal with the resource gathered from ‘Wikipedia’, but the Court carefully avoided using such resource, mainly for the reason that they were not stable and could be changed by anyone, over any period of time. Again in the case of Commissioner of Customs v. M/s ACER India Pvt. Ltd. 9 [use of the words ‘Laptops’ and ‘Desktop Computers’], while counsels from both sides used references and definitions from Wikipedia, the Apex Court consciously avoided to rely on it. Similarly the court rejected the Wikipedia resource in M/s BOC India Ltd. v. State of Jharkhand & Ors. 10 [use of the term and process of ‘Basic Oxigen Steelmaking – BOS’]. Interestingly all these judgments were delivered by Hon’ble Mr. Justice S. B. Sinha.

7 Judgement dated 21/10/2010 passed by Hon'ble Mr. Justice Markandey Katju (Coram: Hon'ble Mr. Justice Markandey Katju and Hon'ble Mr. Justice T. S. Thakur) in Civil Appeal Nos. 2028-2029 of 2010. Reported in AIR 2011 SC 479. 8

Judgement dated 16/05/2008 passed by Hon'ble Mr. Justice S. B. Sinha (Coram: Hon'ble Mr. Justice S. B. Sinha and Hon'ble Mr. Justice V. S. Sirpurkar) in Civil Appeal No. 3644 of 2008. Reported in 2008 (9) SCALE 277.

9

Judgement dated 12/10/2007 passed by Hon'ble Mr. Justice S. B. Sinha (Coram: Hon'ble Mr. Justice S. B. Sinha and Hon'ble Mr. Justice H. S. Bedi) in Civil Appeal No. 2321 of 2007. Reported in 2008 (1) SCC 382.

10

Judgement dated 05/03/2009 passed by Hon'ble Mr. Justice S. B. Sinha (Coram: Hon'ble Mr. Justice S. B. Sinha and Hon'ble Mr. Justice Cyriac Joseph) in Civil Appeal No. 1538 & 1540 of 2009.

Recently in 2011, Hon’ble Mr. Justice Dalveer Bhandari refused to only rely on Wikipedia in the case of T.V. Venugopal v. Ushodaya Enterprises Ltd. 11 [use of the word ‘Eenadu’].

Contrary to public perception, the first usage of the resources from Wikipedia, was way back in 2006 when Hon’ble Mr. Justice S.H. Kapadia (the present Chief Justice of India), used the same in the case of Anjaleem Enterprises Pvt. Ltd. v. Commissioner of Central Excise 12 [use of the word ‘memory’].

Other Supreme Court judgments that used the resources from Wikipedia, if not rely on them, includes: Commissioner of Customs, New Delhi v. C-Net

Communication (I) Pvt. Ltd. 13 [use of the word ‘decoder’]. Reliance Infocomm Ltd v. Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd. & Ors. 14 [use of the words ‘FWT’, ‘GSM’, ‘FWA’ and ‘WAP’]. Commissioner of Trade Tax v. Associated Distributors Ltd. 15 [use of the word ‘bubblegum’]. New India Assurance Company Ltd. v. M/s. Zuari Industries Ltd. & Ors. 16 [use of the word ‘flashover’]. Commissioner of Trade Tax v. S/S. Parikh Gramodyog Sansthan 17 [use of the word ‘voltage stabilizer’].

11

Judgement dated 03/03/2011 passed by Hon'ble Mr. Justice Dalveer Bhandhari (Coram: Hon'ble Mr. Justice Dalveer Bhandhari and Hon'ble Mr. Justice K. S. Panicker) in Civil Appeal Nos. 6314-15 of 2001.

12 Judgement dated 16/01/2006 passed by Hon'ble Mr. Justice S. H. Kapadia (Coram: Hon'ble Mr. Justice A. Bhan and Hon'ble Mr. Justice S. H. Kapadia) in Civil Appeal No. 2487 of 2000. 13

Judgement dated 26/09/2007 passed by Hon'ble Mr. Justice V. S. Sirpurkar (Coram: Hon'ble Mr. Justice A. Bhan and Hon'ble Mr. Justice V. S. Sirpurkar) in Civil Appeal No. 6102 of 2001.

14

Judgement dated 30/04/2008 passed by Hon'ble Mr. Justice S. H. Kapadia (Coram: Hon'ble Mr. Justice S. H. Kapadia and Hon'ble Mr. Justice B. S. Reddy) in Civil Appeal No. 936 of 2006.

15 Judgement dated 05/05/2008 passed by Hon'ble Mr. Justice V. S. Sirpurkar (Coram: Hon'ble Mr. Justice A. Bhan and Hon'ble Mr. Justice Dalveer Bhandari) in Civil Appeal No. 6636 of 2002. Reported in (2008) 7 SCC 409. 16

Judgement dated 01/09/2009 passed by Hon'ble Mr. Justice Markandey Katju (Coram: Hon'ble Mr. Justice Markandey Katju and Hon'ble Mr. Justice A.K. Ganguly) in Civil Appeal No. 4436 of 2004. Reported in (2009) 9 SCC 70.

The High Courts of Allahabad, Andhra Pradesh, Bombay, Delhi, Gujrat, Karnataka, Kerela, Madras, Orissa and Rajasthan have time and again used the resources from Wikipedia to understand the subject matter and substantiate their judgments 18 .

In this backdrop it is amply clear that in India too we have started using Wikipedia, the free encylopedia with ease and without hesitation but definitely with restriction. Its therefore time that ‘Wikipedia as a Secondary Legal Source’ be acknowledged in consonance with the zeitgeist!

17 Judgement dated 11/08/2010 passed by Hon'ble Mr. Justice H.L. Dattu (Coram: Hon'ble Mr. Justice D.K. Jain and Hon'ble Mr. Justice H.L. Dattu) in Civil Appeal No. 651-656 of 2005. 18

See Appendix

The Road Ahead Cass R. Sunstein, currently a visiting professor at Harvard Law School. “I love Wikipedia, but I don’t think it is yet time to cite it in judicial decisions,” he said, adding that “it doesn’t have quality control” He said he feared that “if judges use Wikipedia you might introduce opportunistic editing” to create articles that could influence the outcome of cases. 19 Kenneth Ryesky, a New York tax attorney, says "citation of an inherently unstable source such as Wikipedia can undermine the foundation not only of the judicial opinion in which Wikipedia is cited, but of the future briefs and judicial opinions which in turn use that judicial opinion as authority. Stephen Gillers, NYU law professor and legal ethics guru: The most critical fact is public acceptance, including the litigants, he said. A judge should not use Wikipedia when the public is not prepared to accept it as authority. He said it's best used for "soft facts." Lawrence Lessig, a Stanford law professor urges using a system such www.webcitation.org that captures in time online sources like Wikipedia, so that a reader sees "a stable reference" -- i.e., the same material that the writer saw. When a court seeks to determine the common meaning of a term or expression, a website that anyone can edit is likely to produce a viable consensus answer. On the other hand, encyclopedia articles on scientific matter may be less likely to benefit from the consensus wisdom of a large group of online reader-editors— benefiting from the so called “wisdom of the crowd”—because lay editors may be ill equipped to provide valuable contributions or remove inaccurate information. Similarly, articles on controversial topics and individuals may be edited by partisans, which raises

19

Noam Cohen, Courts Turn to Wikipedia, but http://www.nytimes.com/2007/01/29/technology/29wikipedia.html

Selectively,

January

29,

2007,

reliability concerns that typically do not accompany easily verifiable or uncontentious articles. 20 But the legal profession need not endorse a black-of-white rule for citing Wikipedia. It will be appropriate to cite Wikipedia in some circumstances, including for certain major issues, and inappropriate in others. Legal context and the structural limits of Wikipedia both influence the appropriateness of citation. We advise that Professor Anupam Chandler’s nuanced take is more accurate: “Wikipedia is an amazing resource, worthy of citation by a critical user—just like many traditional published sources. In some cases it may be more trustworthy than traditional sources—typically issues where there is likely to be a wealth of knowledge and passion among netizens—while in others less.” 21 Given the inconsistent way that courts have cited Wikipedia, the law needs a single style of citation that is similar to existing styles for internet sources but recognizes the changes to Wikipedia articles over time. The Harvard Journal of Law and Technology has developed exactly such a format, which Wikipedia endorses 22 : [Signal] Wikipedia, [article], http://en.wikipedia/wiki/[article] [(optional other parenthetical)] (as of [date], [time] GMT). Users can find the timestamp by clicking the history tab at the top of an article. The first timestamp listed is the latest change to the article. A later reader can, if so inclined, go back into the history of the article and read the exact version cited, even if the current version has changed. Thus the time stamp is a critical feature in directing the reader to the information the author references. It should remove some concern about future tampering because

20 Jason C. Miller* and Hannah B. Murray, Wikipedia in Court: When and How Citing Wikipedia and other Consensus Websites is Appropriate 21 Law Professor Anupam Chandler, Judge Postner and Other Federal Judges Cite Wikipedia in Decisions (Jan. 30, 2007), http://www.chander.com/2007/01/judge_posner_an.html. 22

Rule 18.2 of the 18th edition of the Bluebook,

later readers can view the article exactly as cited, regardless of subsequent modifications. 23 Wikipedia’s greatest weakness—that anybody can edit an article—is also its greatest strength. 24 The collaboration of online editors allows Wikipedia to offer consensus definitions of words and phrases. When the common definition or meaning of a phrase is at issue, definitions as agreed on by the consensus of the Wikipedia community may be quite useful. Further, the availability of millions of editors also provides a method for correcting errors. The ability of later reader-editors to fix erroneous information is highest when the information is easily verifiable and lowest when it is highly technical or complex. Wikipedia is an appropriate source when the wisdom of the crowd is valuable on its own. More specifically, citing Wikipedia works where a consensus definition is needed, the information is easily verifiable, or the reference is offered for a general context purpose.

23

The reader can use the IP address of the editor to locate the editor and investigate tampering, if necessary.

24

Select entries, however, are locked against editing because of persistent controversy and vandalism, but these are few. For instance, the entry on Israel is semi-protected and can be edited only by established registered users. Wikipedia, Israel, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Israel (as of Nov. 4, 2009, 17:55 GMT); see also Wikipedia, Wikipedia: Protection Policy, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Protection_policy (as of Oct. 30, 2009, 12:21 GMT).

APPENDIX - A

USE OF WIKIPEDIA BY VARIOUS HIGH COURTS Federation of Gujrat Petroleum vs. State of Gujrat 25 The court looked into the definition of 'petrochemical' in Wikipedia (Encyclopedia widely used and accessible on internet). The court also looked into the Howleys' Dictionary and Encyclopedia Britannica for the definations. However it ultimately relied on the definition and meaning of petrochemical as per Website of Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, as it was wider in its amplitude. Madhu Parumala vs. Speaker, Kerala Legislative Assembly 26 Based on the Wikipedia entry that “Allah is the Arabic term for "God" in Abrahamic regions, and is the main term for God in Islam”, the Court found that respondents 6 to 16 had not committed any illegality in taking oath in the name of Allah and have not violated the statutory Form VII B of Schedule III; nor violated Article 188 of the Constitution of India. Consequently imposition of penalty under Article 193 of the Constitution does not arise. State of Kerala vs M/S. Sterling Farm Research 27 The Court relied on Wikipedia, the free Encyclopedia, which described ‘waste and by-products of coir’.

25

Judgment dated 20/02/2006 passed by Hon'ble Mr. Justice K Mehta before the Gujrat High Court, (2006) 2 GLR

1432
26

Judgement dated 21/07/2006 passed by Hon'ble Mr. Justice K. Radhakrishnan (Coram: Hon'ble Mr. Justice K.

Radhakrishnan and Hon'ble Mr. Justice V. Ramkumar) before the High Court of Kerala at Ernakulam. Reported in AIR 2007 Ker 18, 2006 (3) KLT 558
27

Judgment dated 07/08/2006 by Hon'ble Mr. Justice C.N. Ramachandran Nair (Coram: Hon'ble Mr. Justice C.N.

Ramachandran Nair and Hon'ble Mr. Justice K.M. Joseph) in S.T.Rev.No. 341 of 2004 before the High Court of Kerala at Ernakulam

Voltas Ltd. vs. State Of Gujarat 28 The court looked into the definition of 'air-condition' from the Webster's Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language and that of 'air-conditioner' in The Free Encyclopedia Wikipedia . It also looked into the word 'air-conditioned' from The New Shorter oxford English Dictionary on Historical Principles, edited by Lesley Brown, Volume 1 A-M, 1993 for an understanding of the working of the air-conditioning industry and thereafter relied on anther decision of another court. 29 Maitree Sansad vs State Of Orissa And Ors. 30 The Hon’ble Court while dealing with the Biomedical Waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 1998 and the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 and disposal of such waste in the various Hospitals and Nursing Homes of the State which are to be periodically checked by the State Pollution Control Board looked into the Wikipedia entry for ‘safe disposal’ of the same. Nalini Kumari, Major vs K.S. Bopaiah, Major 31 The court extensively relied upon the entries in Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, in order to understand ‘Depression’, both ‘Bipolar Disorder’ (previously known as Manic Depression) and ‘Unipolar Disorder’ (also called Major Depression) and their domains, extents, diagnosis, misdiagnosis, treatment and prognosis of the same.

28

Judgment dated 4/09/2006 passed by Hon'ble Mr. Justice J.M. Panchal (Coram: Hon'ble Mr. Justice J Panchal

and Hon'ble Ms. Justice A Kumari) before the Gujrat High Court
29

Collector of Central Excise v. Subros Ltd. Judgment dated 15/11/2006 by Hon'ble Mr. Justice M.M. Das (Coram: Hon'ble Mr. Justice S. Roy and Hon'ble Mr.

30

Justice M.M. Das) before the High Court of Orissa. Reported in 103 (2007) CLT 191
31

Judgment dated 24/11/2006 by Hon'ble Mr. Justice H. Dattu (Coram: Hon'ble Mr. Justice H. Dattu and Hon'ble

Mr. Justice N. Ananda) in MFA No. 1797 - 1799/2000 before the High Court of Karnataka. Reported in 2007 (1) KarLJ 342

Chanthamara vs State of Kerala 32 In a case involving offence of "rape", the court relied upon the definitions of certain medical terms of female body parts from the Wikipedia while stating that “(e)rrors are quite often committed by the courts, even in understanding the ratio in the decisions, mostly because of their failure to understand the meaning of the relevant expressions which are very often used in cases involving offence of rape”. Independent News (India TV) vs. India Broadcast Live Llc and Ors. 33 The legal position as regards personal jurisdiction in the United States was ascertained from an article entitled Personal Jurisdiction (United States) from wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ personal_jurisdiction. Ravi Kumar Kaushal vs. State of U.P. through Secretary 34 In a case involving Colour blindness, which is the inability to distinguish the differences between certain colours, the Hon’ble Court consulted for reference books such as the Medline Plus Medical Encyclopedia: Colour Blindness Tests, and Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: Isihara Colour Test. Dr. Narayana K. Swamy vs. A. Nazir Ahamed Khan 35 The Court stated that it was not in dispute that the cause of death of the deceased was on account of Subarachnoid haemorrhage (SAH). Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia on internet gave detailed insight on

32

Order dated 13/03/2007 passed by Hon'ble Mrs. Justice K. Hema in Crl.Rev.Pet.No. 542 of 1999 before the High

Court of Kerala at Ernakulam
33

Judgment dated 10/07/2007 passed by Hon’ble Mr. Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul before the High Court of Delhi at

New Delhi. Reported as MIPR 2007 (2) 396, 2007 (35) PTC 177 Del
34

Judgment dated 04/10/2007 by Hon'ble Mr. Justice V. Shukla before the Allahabad High Court Judgment dated 14/11/2007 by Hon'ble Mr. Justice V. Jagannathan in R.F.A.No. 945/2002 & 788/2006 before the

35

High Court of Karnataka. Reported in 2008 (1) KarLJ 397

the same. The Court also consulted the Chambers 21st Century Dictionary for the definition of ‘Haemorrhage’. K.Ravinchandra Reddy and Ors. vs. Government of Andhra Pradesh 36 This Court looked into definitions of the expression "moral turpitude" in the Dictionaries and also upon the precedents. However, as is expected, the Wikipedia entry was the most exhaustive. Tourism Corporation of Gujarat vs. Kalu Valji Jethwa 37 While the Hon’ble Court reffered to the Oxford English Dictionary, Second Edition (Volume V) for the definition of ‘Employment’, the ‘condition of the workman’ was gauged from the entry found in Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Sajeevan Swamy vs. State Of Kerala 38 Learned counsel for petitioner referred to various extracts from the internet (Wikipedia, free encyclopedia etc.) and explained that the "kundalini power" referred to by him is not a fake claim but it has scientific background. Only because petitioner has attained such power, he cannot be treated as a "fake swamy" and proceeded against. Relying on the same, the Hon’ble Court made it clear that in the absence of any compliant in writing, the police shall not carry on with the "fake-swamyhunt" against the petitioner. In the absence of it, the petitioner shall not be put to any humiliation, especially by police.

36

Judgment dated 20/11/2007 by Hon'ble Mr. Justice P.S.Narayana in W.P.No.16618 of 2007 before the High Court

of Andhra Pradesh
37

Judgment dated 23/11/2007 by Hon'ble Mr. Justice K.S. Jhaveri (Coram: Hon'ble Mr. Justice M. Shah, Hon'ble Mr.

Justice S.D. Dave and Hon'ble Mr. Justice K. Jhaveri) before the High Court of Gujrat. Reported in (2008) 1 GLR 12, (2008) ILLJ 985 Guj
38

Order dated 30/05/2008 by Hon'ble Mrs. Justice K. Hema in Bail Appl. No. 3479 of 2008 before the High Court of

Kerala at Ernakulam

Fransisco D. Luis vs. State of Maharashtra & Ors 39 The learned counsel appearing for ICSE, supporting the petitioner, had raised preliminary objection to the very application of the ‘percentile’ and had placed on record a print out from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, from the web site of http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ Percentile_rank, which goes to indicate that the percentile method can be applied when students are similarly situate. Since barring the said document, no other material has been placed on record to substantiate the contention, the Court stated that it lacked the expertise in this area and thus choose to refrane from holding, as sought by the ICSE Board, that the percentile formula itself could not have been applied to bring about normalisation of percentage of marks secured by the students from different Boards. Rajendra Singh & Ors. vs. Government Of NCT of Delhi & Ors. 40 There was a great debate as to whether the construction is on the riverbed or not. The Court referred to various judgments and also various reference material including Wikipedia. After discussing various aspects, the Hon’ble Court deemed it fit to be referred for consideration of an expert committee. Mahesh Bhatt vs. Union of India and Anr. 41

39

Judgment dated 25/08/2008 by Hon'ble Mr. Justice A.P. Deshpande (Coram: Hon'ble Mr. Justice Swatanter

Kumar, C.J. and Hon'ble Mr. Justice A.P. Deshpande) in Public Interest Litigation No. 94 of 2008 alongwith Civil Application No. 37 of 2008 before the High Court of Judicature at Bombay
40

Judgment dated 03/11/2008 (reserved on 02/02/2008) by Hon'ble Mr. Justice A.K. Sikri (Coram: Hon'ble Mr.

Justice A.K. Sikri and Hon'ble Ms. Justice Rekha Sharma) in WP (C) No. 7506 and 6729 of 2007 before the High Court of Delhi at New Delhi
41

Judgment dated 23/01/2009 (reserved on 01/12/2008) by Hon'ble Mr. Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul in WP (C)

No.18761 & 23716 of 2005 before the High Court of Delhi at New Delhi

The author also finds that it is not as if all scenes promote smoking, in fact, some scenes showing acts of smoking were, in fact, in the overall context be sending a contrary signal. For this the Court considered the example of the immensely popular American TV series Friends available from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ Friends, which in 2008, featured the character Chandler attempts to quit smoking. M/S. Nex Tenders (I) Pvt. Ltd. vs. Ministry of Commerce & Industry & Ors. 42 The Hon’ble Court relied on Wikipedia for the deciphering the origin and purport of the adage ‘There ain't no such thing as a free lunch’ (acronym TANSTAAFL). Delhi Gymkhana Club Limited vs Union Of India 43 For the definition of "club" the court tried to look into the case of Van Pelt v. Hilliard 44 but only “unincorporated members club” and “unincorporated proprietary club” were found. The Court thereafter looked into the entries in the Black's Law Dictionary (Revised Fourth Edn 1968), The Longman's Contemporary English (International Edn. 2004 page 213) and also Wikipedia for the definition of “club”. The Commissioner of Sales Tax vs. M/s. India Gypsum Ltd. 45 The Hon’ble Court had to deal with the issue of "C-41 - Gypsum of all forms and descriptions". From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, some of the uses of Gypsum were noted. The meaning of ‘form’ was searched

42

Judgment dated 02/04/2009 (reserved on: 25/07/2008) passed by Hon'ble Mr. Justice Vipin Sanghi (Coram:

Hon'ble Mr. Justice A.K. Sikri and Hon'ble Mr. Justice Vipin Sanghi) in W.P. (C) No. 6574 of 2007 before the High Court of Delhi at New Delhi
43

Judgment dated 15/04/2009 by Hon'ble Ms. Justice Geeta Mittal in Writ Petition (Civil) No. 11689-90/2006

before the High Court of Delhi at New Delhi
44

75 Fla. 792, 78 So. 693, 695, L.R.A. 1918E, 639 Oral judgment dated 17/04/2009 by Hon'ble Mr. Justice Ferdino I. Rebello (Coram: Hon'ble Mr. Justice Ferdino I.

45

Rebello and Hon'ble Mr. Justice J.H. Bhatia) in Sales Tax Appeal No. 4 of 2008 before the High Court of Judicature at Bombay

from the Black's Law Dictionary, 8th Edition and also a judgment of the Supreme Court, 46 while the meaning of ‘description’ was also gathered from Black’s. Moods Hospitality Pvt. Ltd vs Nestle India Ltd 47 In a trademark case involving the word "Yo!" the Court looked into the meaning assigned to the word "Yo" in Wikipedia. Viraj Maniar & Ors. vs. The Maharashtra State Board of Education 48 In this case the Hon’ble Court searched for the description of the word ‘percentile rank’ in Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia, and the website of Pearson Educational Measurement Group website 49 V.P.Rasheed vs State Of Kerala 50 The Court reffered to the information received from the website of, Forest Department of Andhra Pradesh, 'Wikipedia', 'web encyclopedia' and institutions under Myanmur administration etc., in order to quantify one 'Hoppus Foot' and one 'Hoppus Ton'. National Highways Authority of India vs. Som Datt Builders-NCC-NEC (JV) & Ors. 51
46

State of Gujarat Vs. Sakharwala Brothers, 19 STC 21 (SC). Judgment dated 01/07/2009 (reserved on 04/05/2009) by Hon'ble Mr. Justice Vipin Sanghi in CS(OS) 1122/2008

47

before the High Court of Delhi at New Delhi
48

Judgment dated 06/07/2009 by Hon'ble Mr. Justice S.C. Dharmadhikari in W.P. No. 1086 of 2009, 1203 of 2009,

1204 of 2009, 1206 of 2009, 1208 of 2009, 1211 of 2009 and 5391 of 2009 before the High Court of Judicature at Bombay
49

www.pearsonedmeasurement.com Judgment dated 16/09/2009 by Hon'ble Mr. Justice C.K. Abdul Rehim in WP(C).No. 25661,25662,25690,25705 &

50

25711 of 2009 before the High Court of Kerala at Ernakulam

51

Judgment dated 17/11/2009 (reserved on 25/09/2009) by Hon'ble Mr. Justice Vipin Sanghi (Coram: Hon'ble Mr.

Justice Mukul Mudgal and Hon'ble Mr. Justice Vipin Sanghi) in FAO(OS)No.427 of 2007 before the High Court of Delhi at New Delhi

After consulting the Random House Dictionary of the English Language for the term ‘estimate’ and the Webster's Third New International Dictionary for the meaning of the term ‘estimation’, the Hon’ble Court referred to Wikipedia, a free encyclopedia on the internet for the concept of ‘economy of scale’ and extensively quoted from the same. Schering Corporation & Ors. vs. Alkem Laboratories Ltd. 52 The Court referred to the Wikipedia, to ascertain the meaing and ambit of portmanteaus which can also be created by attaching a prefix or suffix from one word to give that association to other words. Jignesh Jasvantrai Shah & Ors. vs. Shapoorji Pallonji & Co. Ltd. & Ors. 53 The Hon’ble Court used many reference material, both text and online, but even for a legal term ‘Criminal Justice’ it consulted the Wikipedia entry. Shri vs State 54 The Court granted time to the petitioners to place on record relevant and cogent material to support their contention as except placing on record the two advertisements by Police Department no other reliable material was placed on record. Apart from the said two advertisements, some material from Wikipedia and some portion out of a chapter from
52

Judgment dated 01/12/2009 (reserved on 25/09/2009) by Hon'ble Mr. Justice Vipin Sanghi (Coram: Hon'ble Mrs.

Justice Mukul Mudgal and Hon'ble Mr. Justice Vipin Sanghi) in FAO (OS) 313 & 314 of 2008 before the High Court of Delhi at New Delhi
53

Judgment dated 10/12/2009 (reserved on 25/11/2009) by Hon'ble Mr. Justice Swatanter Kumar, C.J.(Coram:

Hon'ble Mr. Justice Swatanter Kumar and Hon'ble Mr. Justice A.M. Khanwilkar and Hon'ble Mrs. Justice R.S. Dalvi) in Criminal Writ Petition No.2883/2009. along with 270 of 2009, 1445 of 2009, 2031 of 2009, 2408 of 2009, 2737 of 2009 before the High Court of Judicature at Bombay
54

Judgment dated 23/12/2009 by Hon'ble Mr. Justice K.M.Thaker (Coram: Hon'ble The Chief Justice Mr. S.J.

Mukhopadhaya and Hon'ble Mr.Justice K.M.Thaker) in Special Civil Application No. 12639 of 2009 & 5361 of 2010 before the High Court of Gujarat at Ahmedabad

a school text book and criteria prescribed by another institute was placed on record, however the Hon’ble Court felt that one can hardly consider such material reliable (in absence of any details as to the data and basis on which it is prepared/compiled). Tube Investments of India Ltd. vs. BSA-Regal Group Ltd. 55 One of the grounds vehemently raised on behalf of the

plaintiff/applicant was that the respondent has not established their right to the trademark and mere extract from Wikipedia will not come to their aid. The judgement in BOC India Ltd., Vs. State of Jharkhand and Ors. 56 was relied on for the purpose of supporting that the respondent does not have any basis to show from where he traces his right except the extract from Wikipedia and in this judgment the Supreme Court had observed that it is not possible to give a finding relying on Wikipedia alone. The Hon’ble Court did not think this objection of the appellant could be sustained when there were other documents too. National Stock Exchange Of India vs. Central Information Commission 57 The term ‘non-government organization’ has not been used in any Act, but is a commonly accepted expression. The Hon’ble Court relied on the Wikipedia entry of the same. Further it was cited in the following format: “http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nongovernmental_organization ... accessed on 28-12-2009 @19:52 hrs”

55

Judgment dated 23/12/2009 by Hon'ble Mrs. Justice Prabha Sridevan (Coram: Hon'ble Mrs. Justice Prabha

Sridevan and Hon'ble Mr. Justice M.Sathyanarayanan) in O.S.A.Nos.233, 234 and 292 of 2009 before the High Court of Karnataka
56

2009 (3) Scale 818 Judgment dated 07/01/2010 passed by Hon'ble Mr. Justice Sanjiv Khanna in Writ Petition (Civil) No. 4748 of 2007

57

before the High Court of Delhi at New Delhi

Indian Olympic Association & Ors. vs Veeresh Malik & Ors 58 The term "non-government organization" has not been used in any Act and is commonly accepted expression. The Court therefore looked into the Wikipedia to go into the origins and usage of the term. Further it cited the entry in the following format: “http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Non- governmental_organization ...accessed on 28-12-2009 @19:52 hrs” Centre For Policy Research & Anr. vs. Brahma Chellaney & Ors 59 The learned counsel for the appellant referred to the definitions of "Research" since the Centre was primarily engaged in research works. Three sources were referred to for the said purpose, and they were a) New Shorter Oxford Dictionary 1993, b) The World Bank Dictionary and c) Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopaedia on Internet. The same were later on relied upon by the court. Toyota Jidosha Kabushiki Kaisha vs. Deepak Mangal & Ors. 60 Print outs from the web sites www.toyoto.com and

www.toyotabharat.com, the Encyclopedia Britannica and Wikipedia on line edition attributing the source of the “PRIUS” car to the plaintiff have been emphasized and the Court found it impossible to believe that the defendant was not aware of the association of “PRIUS” with the Toyota. Mr.Chinnasamy vs K. Ravi & Anr. 61

58

Judgment dated 07/01/2010 (reserved on: 23/04/2009) by Hon'ble Mr. Justice S. Ravindra Bhat in WP(C) Nos.

876/2007, 1212/2007 & 1161/2008 before the High Court of Delhi at New Delhi
59

Judgment dated 12/03/2010 (reserved on 14/01/2010) by Hon'ble Mr. Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul (Coram: Hon'ble

Mr. Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Hon’ble Mr. Justice Mool Chand Garg) in LPA No.220 & 313 of 2002 before the High Court of Delhi at New Delhi
60

Judgment dated 19/03/2010 (reserved on 03/03/2010) by Hon'ble Ms. Justice Indermeet Kaur in CS(OS)

No.2490/2009 before the High Court of Delhi at New Delhi

Based on an exibit, the evidence of the doctor, and the print out is taken from Wikipedia Encyclopedia on ‘Paraplegia’ the Court was of the view that the Tribunal ought to have held that the appellant suffered 100% disability and thus allowed the appeal. Asian Electronics Ltd vs Havells India Limited 62 The Hon’ble Court referred Wikipedia for the meanings and descriptions of ‘ellectric ballast’ and ‘fluorescent lamp’ and noted their citations as follows: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electrical_ballast April 17, 2010, at 18:54 hours http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fluorescent_lamp, 18th April, 2010, at 15:49 hours Stokely Van Camp, Inc. & Anr vs Heinz India Private Limited 63 While the Hon’ble Court referred to World Book Medical Encyclopedia for the word “isotonic solution”, the attributes to a “sports drink” was found by it in “the Web Dictionary, Wikipedia”. Mohsin vs. State Of Delhi 64 In an appeal against conviction in a case involving the offence of "rape", the Court referred to the Trial Court’s reliance on Wikipedia regarding the human anatomy. accessed accessed on on

61

Judgment dated 12/04/2010 passed by Hon'ble Mr. Justice D. Hariparanthaman in C.M.A.(MD) No.1670 of 2008

before the Madurai Bench of Madras High Court
62

Order dated 19/04/2010 (reserved on 07/01/2010) by Hon'ble Mr. Justice S. Ravindra Bhat in CS(OS) 1168 of

2009 before the High Court of Delhi at New Delhi
63

Judgment dated 31/05/2010 by Hon'ble Mr. Justice Rajiv Shakdher in IA No.3646/2010 (under O.39 R.1 & 2 CPC)

in CS(OS) 514/2010 before the High Court of Delhi at New Delhi
64

Judgment dated 30/09/2010 passed by Hon'ble Mr. Justice Sanjiv Khanna in CRL.A. 601/2009 before the High

Court of Delhi at New Delhi

The Court later relied on the same and opined that from the instances provided in the Wikipedia entry, it appears that above may be theme behind the Rules of 1958 and thus allowed all the writ petitions. Sunni Central Board of Waqfs vs Gopal Singh Visharad and Ors. 65 The Court consulted Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia for ‘the history of gazetteer’ and also the life and times of Josef Tieffenthaler, a noted gazetteer who is accredited to be the first European who wrote an exact description of Hindustan. Sunni Central Board of Waqfs vs Gopal Singh Visharad and Ors. 66 The Court further states that the credentials of Joseph Tieffenthaler, an Austrian traveller who visited India and remained here for more than two decades, have been made available to us through an internet printout of Wikipedia site which shows that he was a linguist and well conversant with the languages like Persian and Sanskrit. The Court further states that it appears that the building in dispute by the time Tieffenthaler came to Ayodhya had already been constructed but the inscriptions were not there. Besides, even at that time, inside the building in dispute, the Hindu religious structure in the form of a 'Vedi' existed which was being worshipped by Hindus, and remarkably though Tieffenthaler has noticed worship by Hindus, he is conspicuously silent about worship by muslims in the disputed building. Sunni Central Board of Wakfs vs. Gopal Singh Visharad and Ors. 67

65

Judgment dated 30/09/2010 by Hon'ble Mr. Justice S.Agarwal in Vol 7 (Coram: Hon'ble Mr. Justice S.U. Khan,

Hon'ble Mr. Justice S.Agarwal and Hon'ble Mr. Justice D.V. Sharma) before the Allahabad High Court
66

Judgment dated 30/09/2010 by Hon'ble Mr. Justice S.Agarwal in Vol 8 (Coram: Hon'ble Mr. Justice S.U. Khan,

Hon'ble Mr. Justice S.Agarwal and Hon'ble Mr. Justice D.V. Sharma) before the Allahabad High Court
67

Judgment dated 30/09/2010 by Hon'ble Mr. Justice S.Agarwal in Vol 19 (Coram: Hon'ble Mr. Justice S.U. Khan,

Hon'ble Mr. Justice S.Agarwal and Hon'ble Mr. Justice D.V. Sharma) before the Allahabad High Court

During the course of the proceedings an attempt was made to show the meaning of the word "Hindu" in the book Hinduism by Sri Monier Williams. In order to gauge the veracity of the author of the text the Hon’ble Court referred to the Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia wherein the bio data of Monier Williams has been given. Sunni Central Board of Waqfs vs Gopal Singh Visharad and Ors. 68 The Court consulted Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia for the life and times of Josef Tieffenthaler, who was born at Bozen in the Tyrol, on 27th August, 1710 and died at Lucknow on 5 July, 1785. As he occupied various positions in the Great Moghul Empire, and credited with an exact description of Hindustan. Suraj Giri & Ors vs State Of Raj. & Ors. 69 In this interesting case, while examining the law of parole in force in India moreso in the light that it has not been defined as such in the Rules of 1958 which were framed in exercise of power conferred under sub-section (6) of Section 401 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898(as it was in force at that time and amended by subsequent Act of 1973, the Court says it “benefitted by the information technology as learned counsel Shri Nishant Bohra during the course of argument, with the help of his net connection available in the mobile telephone, drew our attention to the definition of the parole given in the Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia available on net, wherein history of parole has been given from several reference quoted from large number of books and research work”. A C T O Jaipur vs M/S Bits & Bites Jaipur 70
68

Judgment dated 30/09/2010 by Hon'ble Mr. Justice D.V. Sharma in Vol 4 (Coram: Hon'ble Mr. Justice S.U. Khan,

Hon'ble Mr. Justice S.Agarwal and Hon'ble Mr. Justice D.V. Sharma) before the Allahabad High Court
69

Order dated 06/10/2010 passed by Hon'ble Mr. Justice Prakash Tatia (Coram: Hon'ble Mr. Justice Prakash Tatia

and Hon'ble Mr. Justice Kailash Chandra Joshi) before the High Court of Judicature for Rajasthan at Jodhpur
70

Order dated 28/03/2011 by Hon'ble Dr. Justice Vineet Kothari in S.B. Sales Tax Revision Petition No.101 and 105

of 2002 before the High Court of Judicature for Rajasthan at Jaipur Bench, Jaipur

The Hon’ble Court in order to apply the law to the facts of the present case, felt that it would be appropriate to first understand as to what these two commodities viz. UPS & CVT are, and for that purpose referred to materials downloaded from the Internet from the site Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Syndicate of the Press of the Universtiy of Cambridge on behalf of The Chancellor, Masters and School vs. B.D. Bhandari & Ors. 71 The Court relied upon the description of the term ‘public domain’ in Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Sunil Kumar vs. Inder Singh & Ors. 72 In this case the Hon’ble Court relied, inter-alia, upon the entry on “Faecal Incontinence” on Wikipedia and allowed the appeal.

71

Judgment dated 03/08/2011 (Reserved on: 23/05/2011) passed by Hon'ble Mr. Justice A.K. Sikri (Coram: Hon'ble

Mr. Justice A.K. Sikri and Hon'ble Mr. Justice Suresh Kait) in Rfa (OS) No.21 Of 2009 And FAO (OS) No.458 of 2008 before the High Court of Delhi at New Delhi
72

Judgment dated 30/09/2011 passed by Hon'ble Mr. Justice J. R. Midha in FAO.No. 408/2002 & 350/1998 before

the High Court of Delhi at New Delhi

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful